Jarryd Hayne has hired a high-profile US lawyer and says he will defend a rape allegation made against him in a civil case in California.
Hayne declined to answer questions on the matter when he fronted the media after returning to NRL club Parramatta on Wednesday.
His lawyers later revealed in a statement that he had made contact with the plaintiff and hired US legal representatives.
“I confirm that I unequivocally and vehemently deny the allegations made against me and I will be vigorously defending the matter,” Hayne said.
“I have the utmost faith in the United States justice system and have left this matter with my legal team.”
Hayne’s legal team said they were yet to be served with papers for the civil proceedings over the alleged incident, which was said to have occurred in December 2015 during Hayne’s stint in the NFL.
Hayne’s US lawyer, Mark Baute, was confident he would be cleared.
“Mr Hayne is innocent and will ask a United States jury to find him innocent,” Baute said.
“There is no objective evidence of any sexual assault in this matter and the lawsuit lacks merit.
“Mr Hayne and I look forward to the day when a jury can find him innocent.”
Baute was the trial lawyer who successfully defended NBA star Derrick Rose over rape claims in a federal civil case in 2016.
According to US court documents, Hayne was interviewed by Santa Clara police in May of 2016 in relation to claims made by a woman over an alleged incident the previous December.
In October 2016 the woman, known as Ms V, was told by police that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal case.
However the woman is now pursuing the two-time Dally M winner on claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress and negligence in a civil suit.
Hayne, 29, returned to the Eels from the Gold Coast this summer, said he was yet to talk to Parramatta management about the matter. Read the full statement here