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Cleveland Browns’ Johnny Manziel accused of sexual harassment in weird complaint

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is being accused of sexual harassment in a rather bizarre claim. According to USA Today on May 23, the suit is asking for $25 million in damages.

So is someone after Johnny Manziel? That could very well be. Erik Burkhardt, Manziel’s agent, took to Twitter to claim that the complaint is “fake” and “frivolous.” “It’s insanity. You can read the thing for yourself.” Burkhardt went on to say, “What some people will do for publicity is just embarrassing. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

The documents were filed in federal court in Florida on May 16. The Deputy Court Clerk in Tampa said the complaint arrived by mail and there is no way to confirm who the sender actually is. It was apparently mailed from Trenton, N.J. The claim lists no attorney and contains no supporting documents.

Stranger yet is that Johnny Manziel has not been served. A law professor at Stetson University College of Law in Tampa Bay, Darryl C. Wilson, stated, “If there’s no service on the other party, then the lawsuit can’t go forward. You don’t have a defendant who's been called to court. You have to have a plaintiff who will go through with the process. Here, there’s a question as to who is the plaintiff.”

And there is yet more strangeness to this complaint. The apparent plaintiff didn’t pay the filing fee of $400. Another law professor, Joseph Little, professor emeritus at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, chimed in. “If there was no fee filed, then it hasn’t been properly filed and the court won’t pay attention to it.”

In the odd instance that this bizarre claim is not dismissed and someone pays the $400, it would be assigned to a judge. Johnny Manziel would then have 20 days to respond once he is served. Professor Little stated that, “Once the case gets filed, there is nobody – no authority – that can independently review the thing and say it is nonsense and throw it away. They have to follow the usual course.”

USA Today Sports attempted to contact anyone connected with the woman whose name is listed on the court filing. Apparently, she has an agent, but said agent had no comment; however, on Twitter, the woman said the filing was “100% a hoax,” as did CNN, whose address was listed for the complainant.

The whole thing is very strange. Right now, it looks like somebody is trying to harass Johnny Manziel, not the other way around. We’ll just have to wait and see where this crazy complaint goes.

Johnny Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 22 pick of the NFL draft on May 8. Manziel was the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M University.

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