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California

NBA star Derrick Rose’s ex-girlfriend testifies in civil trial that he raped her

Derrick Rose
New York Knicks basketball player Derrick Rose arrives at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles during the civil trial in which a former girlfriend accused him and two friends of raping her.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

The woman accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends of raping her testified Thursday in her civil lawsuit, emotionally describing the alleged assault as Rose’s attorney attempted to discredit her account.

In often tearful testimony, the 30-year-old woman told jurors in the federal trial of passing out after a night of drinking with Rose and the others and awaking later to find the three men in her bedroom having sex with her. 

Saying she believed the men drugged her earlier in the evening, the woman testified that she could remember only snippets of what occurred, but she was adamant that she had not wanted to have sex with the three men and had given them no reason to think otherwise.

The woman’s testimony, which lasted for nearly five hours Thursday and will continue Friday, is the cornerstone of her case against the three men. With no physical evidence to support her claim of rape, the trial essentially boils down to whether the jury of six women and two men believe her account of what occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2013.

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Rose, 28, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen have denied the accusations, presenting a starkly different version of the night and claiming that the woman, who had been in a relationship with Rose for a few years at the time of the encounter, was a willing participant. 

The Times generally does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

Rose, who skipped the first day of trial Wednesday with the permission of U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in order to play in a preseason game, caused a slight disruption when he arrived at the downtown courtroom more than 90 minutes after the day’s start, entering in the midst of his accuser’s testimony.

Once one of the league’s most dominant guards, Rose was traded this year from the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks and is looking to bolster a career hampered by a string of serious injuries that sidelined him for long stretches. A verdict against him in this case could not only cost him millions in damages but also do serious harm to his reputation and off-court business interests. The plaintiff has asked to be awarded $21 million.

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The woman spent the morning answering questions from her attorney, Waukeen McCoy, who sought to portray his client as the unsuspecting victim of a scheme carried out by Rose and the others.

She described to jurors drinking vodka and wine before visiting Rose at the Beverly Hills house he was renting, an effort, she said, to calm nerves caused by the anticipation of seeing the athlete for the first time in several months.

Once she and a friend arrived, the woman said she continued to drink, consuming a few shots of tequila. She said she soon became incapacitated and began to “black out.”

“Did you feel like you had been drugged?” McCoy asked.

“Yeah, I had never felt like that before,” she replied.

The woman returned to her apartment in a taxi and told jurors she passed out on her bed still wearing her dress. Some time later, she said, she awoke to the three men raping her. 

Asked by her attorney why she did not report the alleged assault to police afterward, the woman said she feared she wouldn’t be believed and worried her family would find out what had occurred. 

“I was scared and I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know,” she said, describing how the alleged assault had caused anxiety, insomnia and other ill effects. 

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During cross-examination, Mark Baute, Rose’s attorney, sought to use text messages the woman and Rose had exchanged throughout the night to undermine her story, portraying her as eager to reconnect with Rose and knowingly inviting the three men to her apartment for the late-night rendezvous.

Asked who had let the men into the apartment building, the woman responded to Baute that she did not know. 

Baute asked,  “At any time that night did you ever say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ ” [during the sexual encounter]? “At any time that night did you ever say ‘leave’ or ‘get out?’ ”

With each question, the woman responded that she could not recall, her voice cracking with emotion.

In his opening statement to jurors Wednesday and in court papers, Baute accused the woman of making up the rape accusations in an effort to extort Rose.

joel.rubin@latimes.com

For more news on federal courts in Southern California, follow me on Twitter: @joelrubin


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