Potential Legal Ramifications of the Disturbing Accusations Against LeSean McCoy
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has become the focal point of serious, but still uncertain, allegations of domestic violence, home invasion, child abuse, animal abuse and use of illegal steroids.
On Tuesday morning, Instagram user “miamor_i_adore” (“Miamor”) posted a photo of Delicia Cordon, a 34-year-old who dated McCoy for a period of time between 2016 and ’18. She has also resided in a 5,900-square-foot home that is located in an Atlanta suburb and purportedly owned by McCoy. The photo showed Cordon’s face, which appeared to be covered in numerous cuts, bruises and long streams of blood. Miamor directed her post at McCoy’s Instagram account, @shadymccoy. In her post, Miamor leveled a wide range of accusations against the 29-year-old McCoy:
@shadymccoy is THE DEVIL!!! YOU ARE AN ANIMAL!!!!!! We didn’t say anything about how you beat your dog “Henny” into kidney failure. Let’s not talk about all the times my best friend had to stop you from VICIOUSLY beating your son for small things like peeing in the bed. We kept quiet about your drug usage ... all the ILLEGAL steroids and needles you were using, but we will not keep quiet about this!!!!!! I can’t believe you did this to my best friend!!!!! YOUR KARMA IS GOING TO BE SO REAL!!!!!! The world needs to know what type of animal you really are!!!!!!! This was just her yesterday on the left and now this morning this is her on the right!!!! #WomanBeater #AnimalAbuser#ChildAbuser @nfl @tmz_tv @buffalobills
Miamor’s post has since been deleted. Prior to its deletion, McCoy posted on Instagram a categorical denial of Miamor’s allegations. “For the record,” McCoy wrote, “the totally baseless and offensive claims made against me are completely false. Furthermore, I have not had any direct contact with any of the people involved in months.”
The story shifted Tuesday afternoon, when it was learned that police in Milton, Ga. are investigating a home invasion that occurred earlier that morning. The Milton County police department put out a statement saying that emergency personnel responded to a home invasion and found two female victims. One had suffered minor injuries, but the other had been assaulted and suffered serious injuries to her head. The more seriously injured victim was treated at North Fulton Regional Hospital and released. According to several news reports, Cordon is the victim who was hospitalized. Police regard the home invasion as a targeted, not random, intrusion and that there was a lone invader who demanded specific items.
On Tuesday night, Cordon’s attorney, Tanya Mitchell Graham, issued a statement indicating that an assailant had entered the home while Cordon was sleeping and then pistol-whipped her. According to the police department, the assailant demanded specific items of jewelry that had been given to Cordon by McCoy. Graham’s statement also said that McCoy recently changed the code for the home’s alarm system and that the assailant entered the house without signs of forced entry. Graham also claims that McCoy hasn’t contacted Cordon to see how she was doing with her serious injuries.
Again, there is no verified link between the home invasion and McCoy, who adamantly denies there is any link. In fact, it’s not established that McCoy even owns the home. However, evidence suggests that McCoy either owns the home directly or indirectly through a trust. Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com reports that tax records show the home is owned by LKM Trust Agreement and has a Buffalo mailing address. McCoy’s full name is LeSean Kamel McCoy, so his initials are “LKM.”
In addition, on July 3, 2017, a LeSean McCoy of a specific street address on Hickory Pass in Alpharetta, Ga. filed a proceeding in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County against Delicia Cordon of the same address. SI has obtained this filing. The listed cell phone number for McCoy has a Philadelphia area code. McCoy is from Harrisburg, Penn., played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and played for the Philadelphia Eagles between 2009 and ’14. The filing asserted that McCoy is the owner of the property and that Cordon is a tenant. The filing was essentially a notice to evict—it demanded that Cordon leave the property. According to the filing, McCoy and Cordon were “no longer in a relationship and plaintiff allowed the defendant to live rent free while at premises for 5 months.”
On June 22, 2018, Cordon’s attorney (Graham) filed a motion to quash McCoy’s demand that Cordon and her 16-year-old son leave the home. The motion avers that she and McCoy had a relationship for two years and that “on or about Memorial Day, May 28,” she and McCoy had discussed getting married. She also claims that McCoy gave her a “substantial gift” around that time. Reporting by Gary Trock and Mike Walters of The Blast confirms through a conversation with a representative of McCoy that McCoy and Cordon had reconciled after the 2017 filing and that McCoy’s legal action was dropped.
But according to Cordon’s motion to quash, while she was away in Virginia to attend a graduation on June 1, McCoy had “had some of his friends, family members, and laborers remove Cordon’s furniture and furnishings from the home without said Cordon’s knowledge.” McCoy, according to Cordon, also had the electricity turned off at the residence. Cordon says that she contacted the police who then halted the removal of her belongings. It’s unknown if any evidence links McCoy to these accusations.
Next steps for law enforcement
This is a story with truly disturbing allegations, and it appears that two persons were physically hurt. One of those persons was reportedly pistol-whipped, terrorized and robbed. Regardless of this story’s possible connections to an NFL player, a fellow human being suffered a horrible and life-altering experience.
At the same time, this is a story with a very incomplete and uncorroborated set of claims. Until law enforcement comments on its investigation, it is worth proceeding with caution.
Along those lines, consider the wide spectrum of potential outcomes for McCoy. He faces enormous legal and career ramifications. Georgia, like most states, considers home invasions, robberies, assaults and conspiracies to be felony-level offenses with lengthy prison sentences. Any involvement with a home invasion would be disastrous for McCoy.
To be sure, law enforcement officers will review physical evidence found in the home as well as electronic evidence. Such evidence includes video surveillance as well as emails, phone records and texts of persons connected to the property. Even if investigators do not suspect that McCoy is connected in any way to the assault, they will seek his cooperation if he owns the home or has some relationship to it.
To that end, the officers will likely ask to interview McCoy and inquire if he is willing to share electronic records and other requested items. McCoy could decline to cooperate in the investigation, though doing so could raise suspicions. If he agrees to cooperate, McCoy would almost certainly do so only with a skilled criminal defense attorney present. McCoy would improve his prospects if he has an airtight alibi for his whereabouts on Tuesday morning. Likewise, McCoy would gain distance from the allegations if he has a believable explanation for any electronic communications and one that places those communications as completely unrelated to the incident.
If law enforcement arrests the person who allegedly invaded the home and attacked Cordon, that person would be aggressively questioned if he acted at anyone’s direction or behest. The assailant may be offered a plea deal to give up names. Investigators would also examine any evidence and electronic communications connected to the assailant.
The other allegations against McCoy are also serious. Depending on their severity, child abuse and animal abuse can be felony crimes. Further, if McCoy used steroids, he could be connected to those who sell illegal substances and also fall under the NFL’s radar for drug abuse. Whether those offenses actually occurred, whether they occurred in ways that left behind reliable evidence and whether they occurred within the applicable statutes of limitation are all unknowns.
Possibility of McCoy being set up and its ramifications
Alternatively, if McCoy has been falsely accused or even set up, those who engaged in such wrongdoing would be susceptible to being sued by McCoy for malicious prosecution, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Even though McCoy is a public figure and thus must prove actual malice (intent to lie or reckless disregard for the truth) in a defamation lawsuit, a plot to frame him as a home invader or as the architect of a home invasion would clearly be defamatory. Even if those defendants lack the financial wherewithal to pay a civil judgment, McCoy would rehabilitate his reputation by proving he was wronged.
Further, if those persons lied to law enforcement, they could also be charged with making false or misleading statements. Law enforcement will certainly scrutinize all accounts they are told about what took place and what occurred prior.
The NFL, Bills and endorsed companies will keep close tabs
The NFL and Bills, who in 2015 signed McCoy to a five-year, $40 million contract, are carefully watching where this investigation leads. Spokespersons for both have indicated that they are gathering their own information—information that law enforcement could attempt to subpoena. Expect them to proceed guardedly and not signal in any way that they believe McCoy was involved. Companies with endorsement deals with McCoy are no doubt also closely monitoring the situation.
It goes without saying but if McCoy is found to be connected to a home invasion, the prospect of facing league discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, or a voided Bills contract or a loss of an endorsement deal on account of a morals clause would be secondary worries. His focus would be on defeating criminal charges.
If instead McCoy has been wrongly linked to a crime, expect him to use the legal system to hold accountable those who are responsible.
The MMQB will keep you updated on developments.
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Michael McCann is SI’s legal analyst. He is also Associate Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and editor and co-author of The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law and Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.