April 25 (UPI) -- The Sacramento Kings and the NBA announced Thursday that they will conduct a joint investigation into sexual assault allegations in a civil lawsuit filed against head coach Luke Walton.
"The Kings and the NBA take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation," the team and league said in a statement.
The Kings hired Sue Ann Van Dermyden, founding partner of Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, and Jennifer Doughty, a senior associate at the firm, to lead the franchise's investigatory team.
Elizabeth Maringer, the NBA's senior vice president and assistant general counsel, integrity and investigations, will lead the NBA's investigation.
Kelli Tennant, a former host on Spectrum SportsNet LA, alleges that Walton sexually assaulted her in a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel room, according to court filings obtained by the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Tennant's attorney said the alleged incident occurred in 2014, when Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.
Tennant alleges that Walton invited her up to his room to drop off a copy of her book, for which Walton provided a foreword, and pinned her to the bed and forcibly kissed and groped her.
Walton's attorney, Mark Baute, called Tennant's allegations "baseless" and said she was "an opportunist."
"These claims are false and Luke's innocence will be proven in court," Baute said in a statement Wednesday. "[Tuesday's] press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime."
The Kings hired Walton earlier this month after the Los Angeles Lakers and Walton mutually parted ways.