“I think it’s very clear that there’s no there there,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said.
Johnson was at the premiere of a documentary about Sacramento’s roller-coaster battle to keep its NBA team Monday night, but instead of answering questions about the team or the film, he was questioned about a much older piece of his own personal history.
Police video shows a 16-year-old girl from Phoenix Arizona … the man she’s accusing in this 1996 interview is then NBA star and future Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Phoenix prosecutors did not pursue charges against Johnson.
But 20-years-later his accuser, now a grown woman, has come forward with her story in detail… saying the $230,000 Johnson paid her in a civil settlement isn’t worth her silence.
Hers is the first, but not the most recent allegation against the embattled mayor, who just this year faced sexual harassment accusations from a City employee.
“Politics is a game that throws out dirty things along the way, and you gotta take hits on the chin, and we’ll do that,” Johnson said. “And I’m lucky enough that Sacramento elected me when these stories came out the first time.”
“Mr. Mayor, there have been allegations while you were still in office. Are you saying those most recent allegations while you were in City Hall are part of a political game?” FOX40 asked Johnson.
“No. I’m just saying that when you’re an elected official, there’s a lot of things thrown at you,” Johnson said. “And that’s just part of the territory. I accept that. I respect it. I understand it. My job is to not be swayed, to focus on the job at hand, and my commitment is to continue to do that.”
ESPN was not so understanding, canceling today in the 11th hour, the world television premiere of “Down in the Valley,” the documentary about the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
It was canceled while, according to a spokesperson, they review the content of a movie that features Johnson as its de facto hero to make certain it’s appropriate.
But the Sacramento premiere was ultimately allowed to go forward with crews rushing to put up the marquee even while fans were lined up to see the show.
“He does what he does. I can’t really say anything about that. It doesn’t really change the fact that he was really important to keeping them here, and his effort to keep them here was definitely appreciated,” Isaiah Matthews said.
“Yeah. I think tonight’s focus should be on the Kings, and how important they are to Sacramento,” Kim Matthews said.