A federal jury in Los Angeles Wednesday found that a woman’s rape claim against NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends was not credible, handing the men a victory in a high-stakes civil trial.
Rose, 28, Randall Hampton, and Ryan Allen had been accused of breaking into the woman’s Los Angeles apartment and having sex with her when she was incapacitated from a night of drinking and, she claimed, being drugged by the men.
After roughly three hours of deliberations, the panel of six women and two men rejected those claims. They found instead that the evidence showed the woman, who had been in a relationship with Rose, consented to the late-night encounter in 2013. The verdict was unanimous.
A 25-year-old juror who gave only his first name, Jared, said afterward that the lack of any physical evidence to support the woman’s allegations harmed her case significantly and left jurors unable to say for certain if she was intoxicated or lucid when she had sex with the men.
“We couldn’t make that determination. We couldn’t have a definite that she wasn’t or was” intoxicated, the juror said.
The fact that the woman did not have her blood or hair tested for alcohol and drugs in the wake of the alleged rape weighed heavily against her, the juror said.
“She could have done a number of things to prove that this happened and she took none of those steps to prove her case.”
The juror, along with a second member of the panel who also gave only his first name, John, said the woman’s testimony early in the two week trial was unconvincing.
“To be completely honest, no,” Jared said, when asked if the woman had seemed credible. “It was the way she said things, it was the attitude she had about it. It felt like she was playing us.”
The jurors insisted Rose’s stardom as one of the NBA’s most prominent point guards played no role in their decision. Later, however, all eight of the jurors joined Rose and his attorney in the lobby of the downtown courthouse, with several, including Jared and John, smiling and posing for photos with the basketball player.
Rose declined to answer reporters’ questions, saying only “I’m just focused on the season.” The upcoming basketball season will be Rose’s first with the New York Knicks after several successful but injury-plagued years with the Chicago Bulls.
“All three men were innocent from day one,” said Mark Baute, Rose’s attorney. “We’re just happy the system worked.”
No criminal charges have been filed in the case. The woman reported the incident to Los Angeles police two years after the alleged rape, and LAPD officials have said they are continuing to investigate it.
The Times generally does not name victims of sexual assault and is not naming the woman in this case because of the ongoing LAPD investigation.
The woman showed little emotion as the jury’s verdict was read to a full courtroom, her hands clasped together in front of her and her head bowed. She left without speaking to reporters.
Her attorney, Waukeen McCoy, said his client was “devastated. “I just don’t understand how the jury could come to that conclusion,” he said. “I just think it’s a shame. I just think it’s a shame for women, I think it’s a shame for this country, that a celebrity can come into court and just slut-shame a plaintiff.”
Such harsh language was used throughout the trial as the two sides traded ugly barbs and worked to discredit the opposition. Baute took a no-holds-barred approach, portraying the woman throughout the trial as a jilted lover and liar who was trying to extort money from Rose. McCoy, meanwhile, presented the three men as “sexual deviants” devoid of any remorse.
With no physical evidence to consider, the case largely came down to sharply conflicting testimony from the woman and the defendants about what occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2013.
Rose and the woman had been in an open relationship for two years, but broke it off a few months before. Both sides agreed that Rose had invited the woman and a friend to the Beverly Hills house he was renting, where the women drank with the three men.
At trial, the plaintiff recounted how she drank before going to the house and then had a few shots of tequila with the men, quickly becoming intoxicated and drifting in and out of consciousness. The severe reaction, she said, led her to suspect the men of slipping a drug into one of her drinks.
The woman testified that she returned home in a taxi and awoke hours later to find the three men in her apartment. Saying she could remember only “flashes” of the night, she described being raped by the men in often tearful testimony.
The men adamantly disputed that account, saying the woman had aggressively sought out sex with them at Rose’s house and orchestrated the plan to come to her apartment. Once there, they testified, the woman opened the front door to her apartment building to let the men in and gave no sign of being intoxicated when she took each of them into her bedroom in turn.
McCoy held them up as evidence that the woman was unaware all three of the men were coming to her apartment and that she did not intend to have sex with them; Baute and another defense lawyer, Michael Monico, argued that texts showed that the woman was alert in the hours before the alleged assault and wanted the men to come to her apartment for sex.
In the end, the text messages did not help jurors determine what occurred, said Jared.
In reaching a verdict, jurors considered three allegations against each of the men: Sexual battery, battery and trespassing.
Jared said the panel was unanimous in its decision the first time it took a vote. Before voting, he said, the jury tried to consider the testimony and evidence in a light most favorable to the woman.
“We actually tried to prove the plaintiff correct before we made our decision,” he said. “We went over the evidence from the plaintiff’s point of view and wrote down everything that was believable. And nothing added up.”
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