Josh Pastner's attorneys say couple's allegations were fabrications

ATLANTA -- The Arizona couple, Ron Bell and Jennifer Pendley, who accused Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner of sexually assaulting Pendley, suggested in recorded jailhouse conversations that they fabricated the allegations, according to a court filing by Pastner's attorneys on Friday.

In January, Pastner filed a civil suit against former friend Bell and his girlfriend, Pendley, in Superior Court in Pima County, Arizona, alleging they were trying to extort and blackmail him by threatening to release false allegations about him to the media, Georgia Tech and the NCAA.

Bell and Pendley filed a countersuit in February, alleging that Pastner had sexually assaulted Pendley in a Houston hotel room in February 2016 and harassed her other times.

Pastner and his attorneys have denied the allegations, and a Title IX investigation conducted by attorneys hired by Georgia Tech cleared him in the matter in June.

The new court motion on Friday asks Pima County Superior Court Judge Brenden J. Griffin to grant Pastner's motion for sanctions and dismiss Bell and Pendley's counterclaim with prejudice and judgment. The attorneys also asked that Bell and Pendley be ordered to pay Pastner's attorneys fees if the case isn't immediately dismissed.

The motion filed by Pastner's attorneys on Friday includes transcriptions of recorded telephone and video conversations between Bell and Pendley from when Bell was being jailed in Arizona and Georgia for a probation violation from a previous conviction.

"These recorded calls show that Bell and Pendley maliciously and falsely accused Josh Pastner of sexually assaulting Pendley," Pastner's attorneys, Scott Tompsett of Kansas City and Scott Palumbo of Phoenix, said in a joint statement provided to ESPN.

"Among other things, when Bell believed Pendley was not doing enough to get him out of jail, he threatened to expose Pendley by holding a news conference where he was going to tell the truth about her false sexual assault allegations. When Bell threatened to expose Pendley, she did not deny that she had falsely accused Josh of assaulting her. In legal terms, that's called admission by silence."

According to transcripts of a March 26 telephone call, Bell told Pendley to stop going to appointments with her sexual assault counselor.

"Listen to what I'm about to say and read between the lines," Bell said. "I think you can live without sexual assault counseling for a couple of weeks. Do you?"

"Yes, absolutely, honey," Pendley replied. "I agree. And it's going to be fine."

"Don't you agree? And we don't want to say why, but you know why, right? And I know why, right?

"You know exactly what I'm saying in my head, right? I don't have to say it, do I?"

"No. No, I agree," Pendley responded.

In a March 28 video call, Bell repeatedly told Pendley that he was going to refute her allegations against Pastner if she didn't get him out of jail. He told her, "I'm sick and tired of being in jail because you filed the lawsuit. How's that?"

"I'm just going to frankly say, 'I don't believe it happened,'" Bell said. "That's all I'm gonna say.

"I don't believe it and these are the reasons why."

"Ron, please don't do that," Pendley said.

"I'm gonna use that to get out of this jail," Bell replied.

During a telephone call later the same day, Bell criticized Pendley for talking about her case during her earlier visit.

"I think you're a [expletive] liar," Bell said. "You want to say more on the line, then I'll say more, too. We can do this. Remember, Jennifer, I was not the one who was crying on the steps of that courthouse [in front of media when the countersuit was filed]. That was you. Not me. That was you."

Then in an April 2 phone call, Bell threatened to call the media and say that she lied about the allegations against Pastner.

"If you want any chance to stay in that house and live in Tucson [Arizona], give it up to me right now," Bell said. "Or you are going to get destroyed, and Josh is going to roll over you like a [expletive] Army tank. When I go to the press, Josh is going to sue your [expletive] ass. He's gonna win cause I will testify for him unless you give it up and start telling me the truth."

In a Nov. 7 report by CBS Sports, Bell alleged that he had provided Georgia Tech basketball players Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson with improper benefits by paying for them to fly to his home in Tucson, and paying for their meals at a restaurant in Atlanta. Bell also alleged he sent the players shoes and shirts that he purchased online.

After becoming aware of Bell's allegations on Oct. 2, Pastner said he reported the violations to Georgia Tech's compliance department. Tech officials self-reported the violations to the NCAA, and the school declared Okogie and Jackson ineligible for competition at the start of the 2017-18 season. The NCAA suspended Okogie for six games and Jackson for three. They also required the players to repay the amounts of the benefits they received.

Bell served four years in prison in Arizona from 2009 to 2013 following his conviction on felony drug charges. He was arrested in March on a fugitive warrant from Georgia for a probation violation stemming from an earlier conviction. A Superior Court judge in Cobb County, Georgia, ordered Bell to pay $3,576 in extradition expenses, $5,000 in restitution and monthly payments for the remaining restitution for the earlier conviction in the state.