Sharon Lewis to pay up to $200,000 to Les Miles
BATON ROUGE - A judge ordered former LSU athletic administrator Sharon Lewis and her attorney Larry English to pay $200,000 to former head football coach Les Miles.
In the initial lawsuits, District Judge Beau Higginbotham sided with Miles, saying the allegations of covering up sexual harassment had no legal merit.
Peter Ginsberg, Les Miles's attorney, says the allegations were also damaging.
"They couldn't speak out, they couldn't defend themselves - except in court," Ginsberg said. "So it took us three years to defeat all the accusations and get to the point where now these sanctions have been awarded."
Last year Sharon Lewis filed a $50 million lawsuit against LSU, alleging a hostile work environment and inappropriate sexual behavior against female employees. The jury rejected those claims in December 2023.
All the statements from every party are listed below.
Peter Ginsberg's statement:
Coach Miles left LSU in 2016, having made lifelong friends, built a strong and vibrant football program, and established a record of integrity. The last three years have been spent fighting unscrupulous and hurtful accusations brought by a person whom he once considered a friend, Sharon Lewis, and orchestrated by an attorney, Larry English, who has set records for defeats and admonishments from both federal and state courts. Today’s decision, awarding sanctions to Coach Miles in the amount of $200,000, which includes $25,000 in punitive damages reflecting the bad faith underlying the accusations, and against Lewis and English, does little to ease the pain but hopefully serves as a powerful reminder that truth and integrity count. All allegations in both federal court and state court against Coach Miles have been dismissed. Today’s sanctions award is a fitting end to a sad chapter in Coach Miles’ and LSU’s history but, throughout this unfair and hurtful saga, Coach Miles has acted with dignity and decency, and he is perhaps most proud of that. Making false accusations and grabbing headlines is easy; fortunately, the justice system here has exposed the accusations for what they are, and a just punishment has now been imposed in response.
Les Miles' statement:
Many of my fondest memories are from my time at LSU. Every day as a Tiger was an honor. I led a group of young men who shared my passion for football and people. We pursued excellence through integrity. Our
program was, and is, special. I am proud of how I led the LSU Football Program. I championed each
player, coach and support staff member as an integral part of our team. I respected, valued and advocated for our team. The fiction novel Sharon Lewis authored as an attempt at corrupt financial gain ended today. I was awarded $200,000 against Lewis and attorney, Larry English. The ruling provides clarity about Lewis’ persistent misrepresentation of the man I am. Justice is victory for all of us – a powerful reminder that truth
Larry English's statement:
"Higginbotham had before him multiple rulings of the Federal Courts that have found Les Miles likely violated state law when Miles and Taylor Porter hid the Miles investigation in 2013. Yet, Higginbotham ignored the law and sided with Miles who was documented in the Husch Blackwell Report to be a racist and sexual predator who paid a student to conceal his sexual misconduct. He did so because Miles is White and Sharon Lewis and Larry English are African-American. Higginbotham’s ruling is consistent with the 19th JDC Chief Judge Donald Johnson’s sworn testimony that Higginbotham exhibits racial bias against African-Americans. Ms. Lewis will be immediately filing a motion to recuse Higginbotham from her case and filing a complaint with the Judicial Commission for his racial bias and failure to consider federal court rulings as required by the law. Two white judges have now sanctioned Ms. Lewis and Mr. English over $529,000.00 to protect Les Miles and Taylor Porter’s lawyers, that the federal courts have ruled likely acted in furtherance of a crime, for no other reason than they are white and Ms. Lewis and English are African-American. In order to assure my client can receive a fair trial, we will also be filing a complaint with the Department of Justice, Division of Civil Rights and the NAACP asking them to investigate Judge’s Timothy Kelly and Beau Higginbotham’s conduct in this case.”
Sharon Lewis' statement:
"I knew taking on LSU in Baton Rouge would be challenging, but I did not believe I would be subjected to this level of racism from two judges whose duty it was to ensure I received a fair trial,” Lewis said. “I will not be bullied into abandoning my pursuit for justice. I remain confident I will prevail.
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