I'm not a lawyer, but that's probably not going to stop me from playing one on the Internet for a moment. On Thursday, Mike Leach hired a new lead lawyer -- the last having stepped down quietly a week or two ago. The lawyer is the same one that represented Mike Price back in the day, and his new legal team seems to have gone on the offensive immediately.
This press release is how Stephen Heninger, Leach's lawyer, introduced himself. It's lengthy, it's thorough, and it essentially takes dead aim at Craig James. The summary, which hopefully makes sense:
On December 12, 2011, Craig James signed a sworn Petition concerned with two books that recount the firing of Texas Tech coach, Mike Leach, in December 2009 regarding events between Leach and James' son (Adam James) who was a football player on that team at the time. This latest sworn Petition states that James was not responsible for Leach's firing. These sworn statements are in stark conflict with the sworn testimony taken earlier by depositions of Craig James, Adam James and Texas Tech officials which state that Craig James was working for ESPN and had a powerful platform and the Texas Tech President and the Athletic Director wanted to give Leach a private reprimand and a fine but James wanted an apology and Leach fired.
The press release goes on to detail sworn statements by James, in the form of then-and-now, that are in direct conflict with each other. At hand, James is upset that two books -- Swing Your Sword and Double T - Double Cross -- wrongly paint him as the reason Leach was fired.
We pause for a moment to note that in the back of Swing Your Sword, there are numerous emails and deposition statements that serve as evidence to back-up Leach's claims. It's one thing if the statements that concern James were pulled out of thin air, but there's documentation -- and lots of it.
The statements made by James and various Texas Tech officials remain important for Leach, who still has pending lawsuits against his former employer, as well as James, ESPN and Spaeth Communications. If I were to take a stab in the dark, Friday's press release seems to be aimed at the latter -- ESPN/Spaeth/James. His suit against Texas Tech, which Leach apparently tried to settle recently, is tied up in a battle over Texas' sovereign immunity; a messy situation, to be sure.
If James did give conflicting statements, it would further bolster Leach's case in what's become a battle bigger than a shed and a videotape. James is also running for senate -- and not doing so hot -- which adds another layer of intrigue to the battle. James feels he can clear his name by countering Leach, and the former Texas Tech and current Washington State coach continues to stick to his guns.
It's important to note Friday's press release is one-sided, coming from Leach's new legal team. However, it leans heavily on sworn testimony from the parties involved, and paints James in a pretty terrible light using his own words.
No idea where this goes next, but it doesn't seem like it's going away anytime soon.