Jury Reaches Verdict in Derrick Rose Civil Rape Trial
(CBSNews) LOS ANGELES — A California jury has cleared NBA star Derrick Rose and two co-defendants in a $21.5 million federal civil rape trial Wednesday.
In this June 24, 2016, file photo, Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference for the New York Knicks to announce they acquired him from the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The jury deliberated for three hours after the two-week trial concluded.
The federal jury rejected the woman’s claim that the 28-year-old former MVP point guard who now plays for the New York Knicks, and two of his friends, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen, broke into her Los Angeles apartment in August 2013 and raped her while she was too incapacitated to give consent.
The three men acknowledged having sex with the woman, but said it was consensual.
The trial revolved around the lurid details of an August 27 evening. The woman and Rose had previously dated, but had broken up before the encounter. The night began at Rose’s rented home, where the woman said she quickly became drunk, left in a taxi, and awoke in her apartment hours later, realizing the three men were there.
The defendants contest much of her story, saying the woman invited them to her apartment with the intention of having sex with them, one by one.
The Los Angeles Police Department also confirmed in September that detectives are conducting a criminal investigation of the allegations against Rose and the other men. One of those detectives, Nadine Hernandez, died from a gunshot wound last week, in an incident that officials have called a likely suicide.
It is not clear if Wednesday’s finding in the civil case will impact the criminal investigation.
Rose said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was important to prove he did not do what he was accused of, even though he had to share private details of his personal life.
“I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me,” his statement said. “This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career.”
The woman, who became emotional and trembled while testifying, had sought $21.5 million when she filed suit, but her attorney did not put a price on the case Tuesday during closing arguments, saying it was up to the jury.
Defense lawyers tarred the woman as a liar who tried to sway jurors through her tears to get at Rose’s fortune. They claimed she was angry he had dumped her and she set him up and brought the lawsuit in hopes of a big payoff.
The woman’s lawyer called the men “sexual deviants” and says they conspired to gang rape her after she was drunk and incapable of consenting to sex.
Rose’s lawyer said the future of the Knicks point guard and his whole family was at stake because of a morals clause in his player contract and an endorsement deal with Adidas.
Attorney Mark Baute urged jurors to recognize the suit as a “hoax and a joke” and not even award $20 because that could destroy Rose’s career and trigger financial ruin for the star and the extended family and friends he had pulled out of poverty from Chicago’s south side with his talent on the court.
Lawyers sparred for nearly three hours during the bitter closing arguments.
The woman’s lawyer said the 30-year-old college student was not a gold digger and was seeking accountability for what was morally and legally wrong. He said the men had never apologized or shown any remorse and said their behavior was reprehensible enough to trigger punitive damages beyond any compensation.
“The three men laughed their way home,” attorney Waukeen McCoy said.
The defense portrayed Rose and his childhood pals, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton, who both work for him, as victims in the case.
“This woman has tried to trick people through much of her life, men especially,” attorney Michael Monico said. “Who is she trying to trick in this courtroom, ladies and gentlemen? You. She doesn’t have any evidence, but she can cry.”
The Associated Press does not generally name people who say they are victims of sex crimes.