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Ex-NY Giant Taylor wins teen hotel sex tryst case

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Ex-NY Giant Taylor wins teen hotel sex tryst case

NEW YORK (AP) Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor celebrated with a cigar on Friday and pledged to concentrate on his ``broken life'' after a jury rejected a woman's claims that he assaulted her by failing to recognize her distress when he had sex with her in a hotel room when she was 16.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan deliberated for about an hour before siding with Taylor, who appeared relieved as he turned around and gave a thumbs-up to a friend on a court bench behind him. Outside court, Taylor signed a copy of the verdict sheet belonging to his lawyer, Arthur Aidala, and then spoke about his future and his past.

Taylor, who led the New York Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991, said he wanted to go home to Pembroke Pines, Fla., and ``concentrate on my own broken life and try to repair that.''

Asked to elaborate, he said: ``I've done a lot of things I need to address. I look forward to going home.''

Outside the courthouse, Taylor, whose post-NFL life has been marred by missteps including drug and tax charges, smoked a cigar. When asked what kind, he said, ``Redemption.''

The verdict came after a four-day trial in which Taylor testified that he had sex with a ``very, very pretty'' prostitute in 2010 but denied accusations that he ignored obvious signs she was a teen runaway who had been beaten and forced to meet with him. He said she told him she was 19.

The meeting occurred in his room at a Holiday Inn in Montebello, just north of New York City, where he paid $300 to Cristina Fierro after the sexual encounter.

Fierro said another man forced her to have sex with Taylor. She said she brought the lawsuit to hold Taylor accountable.

The Associated Press doesn't normally publish the names of accusers in sexual-assault cases unless they agree to be named or identify themselves publicly, as Fierro has done.

One of Fierro's lawyers, Nathan Goldberg, said after the verdict that the case gave Fierro a chance to stand up for herself after she was delivered ``like a piece of meat to the hotel room where Lawrence Taylor had sex with her.''

``(Fierro) believes that by bringing this case and the facts to light that she has stood up for herself and for other children and shown that they, too, can have a voice and let people know what happened to them,'' he said.

Taylor said he regretted that he did not know when he met Fierro about the true circumstances of their meeting.

``I feel for what she has gone through,'' he said. ``At the time, I wasn't a bad person, and if I had known what was going on, I would have helped her. I hope the best for her.''

He shook his head as he spoke quietly about his missed opportunity.

``I'm a sensitive person. I love people,'' he said. ``She was in good hands.''

During the trial, Fierro wept as she described the sexual encounter, saying the hulking Taylor failed to stop having sex with her even after she told him it hurt and tried to push him away.

``I kept telling him I didn't want to be there,'' she said. ``He's much bigger than me. I couldn't do anything.''

Taylor testified that Fierro ``didn't seem to have a problem'' and ``didn't tell me to stop.''

Taylor, who played in the NFL for 13 seasons and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, had already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute and is serving six years of probation.

Outside court, he cited ``changing times'' and said there were many lessons to be learned from his encounter with Fierro and everything that came afterward.

``We're not in the '80s. We're not in the '90s anymore,'' he said. ``You have to govern yourself accordingly.''

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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