SAN DIEGO — The U.S. District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday began reviewing accusations of domestic violence that reality TV star Tila Tequila brought against star linebacker Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers.
The DA will review reports from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and decide if the player known as “Lights Out” will be charged.
Merriman was arrested early Sunday after Tequila accused him of choking and throwing her to the ground while she was trying to leave his home in suburban Poway. Tequila signed a citizen’s arrest warrant accusing Merriman of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.
Spokesman Paul Levikow said the DA’s office can charge Merriman, reject the accusations or refer them to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office for consideration as misdemeanours.
Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” which ran for two seasons on MTV. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila’s affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men’s magazines.
Merriman and his lawyer, Todd Macaluso, have said they expect him to be vindicated. Merriman issued a statement Sunday denying wrongdoing and saying he was trying to keep Tequila from leaving his home because she appeared to be intoxicated.
“I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported,” Merriman’s statement read.
On Tuesday night, Tequila’s lawyer called Merriman’s explanation “spin” and predicted it would be discredited.
“It is never justifiable to brutally assault, choke, strike and imprison a woman,” lawyer Alan S. Gutman wrote. “Once the truth is fully revealed, Mr. Merriman’s fantastic story of how he was trying to keep Ms. Tequila safe will be completely discredited.”
Gutman didn’t return calls seeking comment Wednesday. Merriman and Macaluso said they had no further comment.