April 18, 2024

The woman who accused former San Diego State punter and NFL hopeful Matt Araiza of raping her at an off-campus party in 2021 has agreed to drop him from a civil lawsuit, attorneys on both sides of the case confirmed Tuesday.

No money will change hands, and Ariaza agreed to drop his defamation countersuit against her. The agreement leaves him open to pursue a potential suit against the woman’s attorney.

Her lawsuit against four other defendants accused of gang rape will go on and is set for trial in February. Those defendants, all former Aztec football players, have previously said any encounter they had with the woman was consensual.

The dismissal of Araiza from the lawsuit likely clears the way for him to pursue another shot at the NFL.

His attorneys issued a statement Tuesday saying the development was “bittersweet.”

“Matt has been forced to defend himself for the last sixteen months against false accusations and a campaign to ruin his career in the NFL. He will never get this time in his life back,” reads the statement from attorneys Dick Semerdjian and Kristen Bush.

They also said there was “extensive evidence that was key to securing Matt’s voluntary dismissal from this lawsuit. Matt was and has always been innocent.”

The woman’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, said the defamation countersuit filed against her was “legally baseless.” Also, her first legal bill topped $20,000, and she “simply cannot afford to defend herself.”

“Plus she has been beat down by Araiza’s PR campaign and is frankly over it,” he said in a text.

Araiza was considered a future star when he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in April 2022. But he was cut from the team when the lawsuit was filed four months later. Now 23, he’s been outside the league for more than a year.

Araiza has long maintained he was not present when, according to the woman, she was led into a bedroom during a party at a home near campus and raped by other men in October 2021. He did admit the two had engaged in sex earlier in the evening, outside the home.

The woman went to San Diego police the Monday after the party. The woman, who was 17 and in high school at the time, told detectives she did not resist her attackers to avoid being harmed.

After a months-long police investigation, prosecutors declined in December 2022 to file criminal charges against any of the men. The woman filed her civil lawsuit several months earlier.

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