Steelers’ Adams Sued for Defamation Over Carjacking Claim

May 15, 2014

One of three men acquitted last month of trying to carjack the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Adams sued the lineman Tuesday, saying Adams lied when he claimed the man had a gun and threatened Adams.

Adams and Allegheny County prosecutors claimed Dquay Means, 26, threatened Adams with a gun when he exited a restaurant about 3 a.m. June 1, and attempted to steal his car. Another of the defendants allegedly stabbed Adams instead, and the men ran away. Adams was hospitalized for four days.

The defendants argued at their trial last month that the encounter wasn’t a carjacking but a fight that began when a drunken Adams knocked food out of the hands of one the men. Means and Jerrell Whitlock, 27, the man who accused of stabbing Adams, were acquitted of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, conspiracy and attempted robbery. Means was convicted only of escape, which involved his flight from police once he knew he was wanted.

Michael Paranay, 26, the man who claimed Adams knocked his food from him, was also acquitted of all charges against him. Paranay’s attorney argued at trial that Adams was the aggressor and “obliterated drunk, aggressive and out of control.”

The lawsuit echoes Means’ trial claims that Adams’ version of events changed and that he had an incentive to lie because he was drunk, which Adams denies. Neither Adams nor his agent could be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

According to court papers, Adams initially told police Means pulled a gun from his waistband and held him at gunpoint. Adams later testified that Means merely took the gun from his pocket and never raised it.

Means’ attorneys have argued that Adams knew he would be in trouble with the team for starting a drunken fight and, therefore, had to come up with a different version of events. The Steelers drafted Adams in the second round in 2012 out of Ohio State after his stock dropped due to testing positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. The Steelers had planned to pass on Adams entirely, but he persuaded general manager Kevin Colbert that the pot test was an aberration.

Colbert has said the Steelers drafted Adams subject to certain stipulations, which the team has never disclosed.

“Michael Adams was fearful of losing what he had in the NFL and made it all up, at least as pertains to Mr. Means,” Means’ attorney Monte Rabner said Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for false arrest and defamation, among other claims, and because Means spent nearly 11 months in jail until his acquittal. He’s on house arrest awaiting sentencing on the escape charge.

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