*Katina Powell, a self-described former escort at the center of a sex scandal involving the Louisville men’s basketball team, is the target of a new lawsuit from the women she claimed to have pimped to recruits at sex parties, reports ESPN.com.
Five women claim that Powell – in her tell-all book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” – used their photos and two of their first names without consent and defamed all of them by implying that they sold sex for money at the parties.
On Monday, the women filed an amended civil complaint in Jefferson County Circuit Court against Powell, Indianapolis Business Journal Book Publishing and the book’s author, former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dick Cady. A sixth woman is expected to join the lawsuit within a week, said Nader Shunnarah and J. Andrew White, the attorneys representing the women.
As previously reported, the book details nearly two dozen stripping and sex parties from 2010 to 2014 inside Louisville’s Billy Minardi Hall, the on-campus dorm for athletes and other students that is named for the late brother-in-law of Cardinals basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Powell has said that former Louisville basketball graduate assistant Andre McGee arranged the parties, paid her $10,000 for supplying dancers and paid for several sex-for-cash “side deals.” McGee has denied the allegations.
“The ladies who are plaintiffs in our case indicated they were never involved, never saw [sex]. There was no red-light room. They’re telling us there was no prostitution involved,” Shunnarah said.
Three of the women suing Powell admit they danced at parties inside Billy Minardi Hall with the understanding that Louisville basketball players, recruits and other students were in attendance, White said. He added that Powell never paid the women and said he did not know whether the women profited from being tipped by the players and recruits.
“We don’t know at this point what stage of undress they were in when they were dancing, but nude dancing is not illegal in the state of Kentucky,” White said.
Meanwhile, Powell has also decided to speak with NCAA investigators early next week, her lawyer, Larry Wilder, says. She is expected to turn over documents, including copies of her personal journals and phone records, according to her attorney.
“In consideration of the fact that the Commonwealth is going forward and considering criminal charges against Ms. Powell it is no longer in her best interest to forgo meeting with the NCAA and sharing all of the demonstrative evidence she has to support her position,” Wilder said.