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Ex-NFL Star Shawne Merriman Denies Playing Role in Playboy Employee's Death

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By Ryan Naumann

Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman says the family suing him for their daughter’s death is defaming him with the allegations, as well as cost him countless jobs.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Merriman is denying allegations he played a role in the death of Kimberly Fattorini.

Merriman says, “I realize the Plaintiffs must be suffering greatly, but do not have any idea why they are defaming me by making false accusations in the press and in public pleadings and causing me economic harm.”

He tells the judge, “I was a collegiate athlete, and a professional football player. After a successful start, my professional football career was derailed by injuries.”

The former NFL star tells the court, “Until the tragic death of Kimberly Fattorini made the newspaper, I was a sports commentator on a variety of television shows. I was also a motivational speaker, especially addressing the topic of overcoming adversity.”

Gettyimages | Edward A. Ornelas/AAF

Last month, the family of Playboy employee, Kimberly Fattorini, sued Merriman over her death by an overdose.

The suit implicates Merriman in the death of 30-year-old Fattorini who died on July 21, 2017 at a private residence in Hollywood after being discovered unresponsive by friends. Fattorini worked for Playboy as a casting associate, and her death was officially ruled accidental after the L.A. County Medical Examiner determined she died from an overdose of alcohol, cocaine and the club drug, GHB.

Fattorini's parents, Deann and Ferdinand, filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Merriman, a nightclub, and others, alleging the girl was drugged and possibly assaulted before her death.

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Gettyimages | Gregg DeGuire

According to the lawsuit, on the night of July 20, 2017, Fattorini was invited out to a nightclub by a promoter who was hosting an event that evening. Fattorini met up with friends and attended the event, where they drank alcohol and danced to music.

Afterwards, they went to back to the promoter's house, where they allegedly partied into the morning and used cocaine.

Merriman came over to the home after being invited by the promoter and allegedly arrived between 8:30 - 9 AM. According to the complaint, a witness noticed him carrying "some kind of bottle," that was "filled with a liquid."

Shortly after Merriman arrived at the house Fattorini texted the promoter from a different room in the house that, "you friend just poor'd [sic] half G in my drink."

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Gettyimages | Emma McIntyre

The lawsuit alleges the "G" refers to the drug, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, which is a powerful central nervous system depressant. It is commonly referred to as a "club drug" or the "date rape" drug.

The text messages entered into the lawsuit appear to show Fattorini becoming incredibly intoxicated, as she was sending nonsensical messages of mashed up letters. The lawsuit states that Merriman, Fattorini and a friend then went to her friend's house where they continued to party.

Around 5 hours after they arrived at the friend's house, around 3:16 PM, a 911 call was placed by Fattorini's friend who claims she found the 30-year-old unresponsive.

The friend was hesitant to perform CPR, as she claimed she did not want to touch the body. When emergency responders arrived, they noted Fattorini was "half-naked with her jeans unzipped and unbottoned."

The documents claim someone may have tried to get Fattorini clothed in haste, and also noted that her bra was twisted and her "lips were blue."

The friend later told investigators that Merriman was in the room when 911 was called, and helped move Fattorini's body off the bed, but did not want it known he was present. According to the documents, Merriman was "very concerned about the media attention the incident might create since he was a celebrity." After 911 was called, the former San Diego Charger's star allegedly "escaped" from the house unseen.

An autopsy was conducted on Fattorini, but the family claims since a preliminary report claimed she died of "no foul play," more extensive tests weren't conducted. They also claim the medical examiner noted multiple bruises on Fattorini's legs, but that no photos were taken. A sexual assault test was requested, but because the autopsy was already conducted officials claimed it was not possible to conduct one properly.

Weeks after Fattorini's death, the medical examiner released the public findings of how she died, and the family obtained new text messages between the promoter and a friend of their daughter. The text message sent from the promoter appeared to directly implicate Merriman in the young woman's death, reading, "Shawn killed her ass, what a f---ing idiot." The message also allegedly claimed, "That dumbass been drugging girls for years."

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family is alleging battery, negligence and also a violation of the drug dealer liability act. They also want damages to be determined for the loss of their daughter's "love."

The case is ongoing.

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