Courts

Former King Demarcus Cousins sticking to his story in lawsuit over nightclub scuffle

David Zalubowski/STF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former Kings all-star Demarcus Cousins plans to move for summary judgement in a lawsuit filed against him and another former King over an altercation at a New York City nightclub in 2016, The Update has learned.

Cousins, 31, is sticking to his original story that he physically engaged with a man, Myrone Powell, in an effort to defend his former teammate from what he believed was “irreparable harm.”

Following a post-discovery conference scheduled for the 10th, Cousins will ask a federal judge to rule in his favor without bringing the case to trial. Attorneys for his co-defendant, Matt Barnes, plan to withdraw as counsel, with no reason immediately available. The ideas were outlined in a letter to federal judge Ronnie Abrams filed Tuesday evening.

“Defendant DeMarcus Cousins intends to move for summary judgment after the close of discovery,” the joint letter, attributed to attorneys for Cousins, Barnes, and their accusers, reads. “Meister Seelig & Fein LLP intends to move to withdraw as counsel for defendant Matt Barnes.”

Cousins and Barnes, partying at a nightclub in Manhattan’s West Side following a 106-98 loss to the Knicks in 2016, were involved in a violent altercation with a woman, Jasmine Besiso, and a man, Myrone Powell.

According to the lawsuit, Barnes and Cousins got into an unrelated commotion with several people in their VIP section when Barnes randomly approached Besiso, grabbed her by the neck, and began to choke her.

That’s when, the suit claims, Powell tried to jump in and defend her. Moments later, he was allegedly approached by the 6’10” Cousins, who punched him in the face. Barnes then knocked Besiso unconscious with an elbow to the head, and the duo took turns beating on Powell. The men left the club shortly afterwards.

TMZ Sports, citing a rep for Barnes, reported that the 14-year league veteran claims he accidentally bumped into Besiso, who slapped him across the face in response.

Barnes’ rep said several men affiliated with Besiso sparked a brawl with Barnes, knocked him to the ground, and began to choke him. Barnes says he fought the group in self-defense, with Cousins coming to fend them off as well. Video recorded immediately after the incident, released by the online news outlet, captured Cousins referencing Barnes being choked.

“I don’t know what happened,” Cousins said. “All I seen was a [expletive] trying to choke Matt.”

Cousins recently inked a one-year deal with the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. Barnes, 41, has since retired and covers the Kings as an NBC Sports analyst.

Cousins was cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation into the fight by the NYPD, and Barnes pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct violation in 2017, effectively skirting criminal charges. He ended up serving 10 days of community service for the offense.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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