Apr. 17—A man who was beat up in a brawl on Pittsburgh's South Side last weekend has recanted his accusations that NFL defensive star Aaron Donald of Penn Hills was among the people who assaulted him, according to the man's attorney.
The former Pitt star actually came to his rescue and pulled people away from Devincent Spriggs, who was on the ground as others kicked him, according to Todd Hollis, the attorney for the beating victim.
"I can understand why my client believed he was engaged with Aaron Donald," Hollis said to the Trib, "because the individual he was fighting bears a very close resemblance."
Hollis said that after obtaining the full video of the incident, it shows that Donald was not involved in the fight itself.
The change in stance from Spriggs, 26, is in line with what Donald did to help Spriggs from getting beaten further by a group of men, according to Donald's attorney, Casey White.
"The video clearly shows that Aaron Donald did not, in fact, assault Mr. Spriggs," White told the Trib earlier Friday.
White characterized Spriggs' claims that Donald joined in assaulting him were what White described as an attempt to get an easy payday.
Allegations against Donald surfaced Wednesday when Hollis called for an investigation into Spriggs's claims Donald assaulted him late Saturday or early Sunday.
Spriggs alleged he bumped into another man at an alley outside Cosmo on Carson, and the man, whom he identified as Donald, punched and kicked him. But, White was suspicious of Spriggs' motives in accusing Donald of being involved in the assault.
"I think it's obvious that Mr. Spriggs, two days later during recovery from injuries, realized that Aaron Donald was around when he was injured, and I think he saw dollar signs," he said. "I think this was, in plain English, a money grab."
Hollis said he and his client are only looking to ensure that the correct person is punished.
"I made it clear to my client that our goal was justice," he said. "And that doesn't include holding someone responsible who you know is not responsible. So as soon as I verified that Mr. Donald was not involved in the altercation, I made it clear that we needed to get that information out."
Hollis earlier on Friday told the Trib that his production manager found "a longer version of the video."
"It appears as if the video has been cut or spliced," he said. "I'm interested to know where the original video came from so that we can see the original copy."
White said Spriggs and his client had their first encounter at a house party on East Carson Street. He said Spriggs elbowed Donald in the back and became combative.
"He started yelling, in a nonsense manner, 'You think I meant to do that, you think I meant to do that,' in a real loud, spit-flying, obviously intoxicated, what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it type thing," White said.
Later, in Wright Way, a small side alley near East Carson Street, White said Donald encountered Spriggs again. He said Donald initially thought Spriggs had a gun in his hand, but it turned out to be a large liquor bottle, which Spriggs swung at Donald, who ducked but was grazed on his head.
White said friends grabbed Donald to keep him from the melee, and he eventually broke free and began "tearing people off" of Spriggs and protecting him.
"The other people in and around the situation jumped to Aaron's defense and quickly diffused the situation by using physical force against Mr. Spriggs, who was using, it could be argued, deadly force," he said.
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