By Bryanna Fissori
There is never a dull moment for the legal council of Floyd Mayweather Jr. The latest in the Welterweight Champ’s list of battles is the defamation case filed by his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris for comments made to Katie Couric claiming Harris was on drugs at the time of the 2010 domestic violence incident for which he was convicted and sent to prison. He was released two months in for good behavior.
The Defamatory Statements
The case was filed just after Mayweather’s win against Manny Pacquiao in May of 2015. The defamatory comments in question were made two weeks prior to the bout. Mayweather stated to Couric that Harris was in a drug-induced rage at the time of incident and that all he did was restrain her.
“Did I kick, stomp and beat someone? No, that didn’t happen . . . I look in to your face and say ‘no, that didn’t happen,” Mayweather told Couric. “Did I restrain a woman that was on drugs? Yes, I did. So if they say that is domestic violence, then you know what? I am guilty. I’m guilty of restraining someone.”
Despite this mere “restraint” Mayweather was convicted.
In response to the defamation suit, Mayweather is asserting that he can prove that he was not lying to Couric and that Harris was in-fact on drugs at the time of the incident. Proof includes medical records on which Harris admitted taking Xanax (anti-anxiety), Wellbutrin (anti-depressant) and marijuana. He also states that there is testimony of her stating that she took half and ecstasy pill before going to a club in 2004.
The 2004 “pill pop,” will likely be deemed irrelevant unless there are multiple more recent confirmations of similar behavior. As for the other substances listed, unless they pertained to the night in question, it is very unlikely that they will serve as any sort of defense to the causes of action.
The Likelihood of Success
Harris’ attorney stated that Mayweather’s statements, “were knowingly fabricated in order to hype Mayweather’s upcoming fight with Pacquiao, to avoid bad press by deflecting responsibility for beating the mother of his children.”
On the face of the claim it seems like Harris may have a good shot at getting the $20 million she is asking for, should the court find her reputation to have that price tag. To meet the criteria for defamation the statements made must be:
1. Published -The interview is available online.
2. False – This is the area Mayweather is contesting.
3. Injurious – Harris claims her reputation has been injured.
4. Unprivileged- Right to free speech was not a concern.
Settling may not be the worst option considering that would still leave Mayweather with $100 mil or so just from the purse from the Pacquiao fight.