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Woman Accuses Vikings’ Dalvin Cook of Assault, False Imprisonment in Lawsuit

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is being sued by a former girlfriend, who accused him of violently assaulting her nearly a year ago, though Cook has contended the woman was the aggressor.

In an 18-page lawsuit filed late Tuesday in Dakota County (Minn.) District Court, Gracelyn Trimble, an Army sergeant, accused Cook of one count each of battery, assault and false imprisonment. She is seeking at least $50,000 in damages. Trimble and her lawyer, Daniel Cragg, filed suit after attempting to reach a settlement with Cook. No criminal report was filed.

In a nearly five-minute news conference with reporters before the Vikings’ practice Wednesday, Cook deflected most questions but asserted his innocence.

“I’m the victim in the situation and the truth and the details of the situation will come out at a further time,” Cook said.

Through a spokesman, the N.F.L. said in a statement that the league would review the matter and “continue to monitor developments but there’s no change to his status as this is a civil complaint.”

Cook and Trimble met on a Florida beach in 2018 and soon began a romantic relationship, according to the lawsuit. Trimble said in the suit that she learned Cook had cheated on her in March 2020, while she was being treated in a hospital after miscarrying their child. Trimble’s account accused Cook of pushing her in a physical confrontation the following week, and of Cook pushing her to the ground in a later dispute.

According to Trimble’s account, Cook assaulted her in an extended confrontation on Nov. 19, 2020, when she tried collect her belongings from his home in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., a suburb southeast of Minneapolis. Cook became enraged, according the suit, and “slung” Trimble over a couch, causing her face to hit a coffee table and her nose and forehead to bleed.

By her account, Trimble had been armed with mace upon entering the house and sprayed it into her own face as she tried to defend herself against Cook. Two guests at the house, Cook’s cousin and her boyfriend, looked on and the boyfriend gave Trimble his shirt to staunch her bleeding, the suit detailed. A photo of the shirt and pictures of Trimble’s injuries were submitted as evidence.

Trimble’s account stated that she went upstairs to take a shower, but as she approached a bedroom, Cook picked her up, slammed her to the floor, pinned her down, choked her, and pointed a gun at her while hurling death threats. Hearing the altercation, Cook’s cousin entered the room and punched Trimble in the face, according to the suit, as Cook kept her pinned. Trimble later grabbed the gun, she said, and carried it in self-defense as she called a friend. Cook overheard their conversation and continued to threaten her, the lawsuit said.

Trimble was able to take a shower in a different part of the house, according to the lawsuit, but again got into an altercation with Cook during which, she alleged, he hit her with a broomstick, bashed her head into wall, and kicked her in the sides yelling “you’re going to die,” as she attempted to crawl away. Trimble said she was able to get as far as the driveway, when Cook carried her back into his house and took away her cellphone, denying her the ability to leave until several hours later.

According to the lawsuit, Cook gave Trimble her phone and took her to the airport early the next morning and she flew back to Florida. Trimble said she did not seek treatment for her injuries until going to an emergency room on Nov. 25, when she was diagnosed with a concussion.

Her lawyers submitted pictures of her bloody and bruised face, arm and scalp as evidence in the lawsuit, along with documentation of Cook apologizing to her via an Instagram message.

Through his lawyer, David Valentini, Cook disputed Trimble’s version of events, arguing in a statement released Tuesday night that Trimble broke into his home with a stolen garage door opener, punched Cook and sprayed him twice with mace, then held he and his houseguests hostage at gunpoint. According to Cook’s statement, Cook knocked Trimble to the ground only after she attacked his cousin, causing a small cut to Trimble’s nose.

“We are confident a full disclosure of the facts will show Mr. Cook did nothing wrong and any injury Sgt. Trimble may have sustained that evening was the result of Sgt. Trimble’s own unlawful conduct,” Valentini said in the statement.

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