Jury rules Derrick Rose and friends did not rape woman

Joel Rubin
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles — A federal jury in Los Angeles on Wednesday ruled that NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends did not rape a woman, 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 eight-person jury alerted U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald at about 12:45 p.m. local time Wednesday that it had reached unanimous decisions on an array of allegations that a former girlfriend of the New York Knicks player had leveled against the men.

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 two-week trial in a downtown courtroom was marked by often lurid and 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 the alleged rape. Both sides agreed that on the evening of the incident, Rose invited the woman and a friend over to the Beverly Hills house he was renting, where they drank with the three men.

What is at issue is whether the woman was intoxicated and whether she had invited the men to come to the apartment for sex.

At trial the woman testified she had been drinking before arriving at the house and quickly became intoxicated. She told the jury of drifting in and out of consciousness and suspecting the men had slipped a drug into one of the shots of tequila she drank at the house.

The woman testified 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.

The men adamantly disputed that account, saying the woman had aggressively sought out sex with the men 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.

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

With no physical evidence to support the woman’s claims, the jury was left largely to make its decision on the credibility of the two sides.

A slew of text messages and phone calls the woman exchanged with the men in the hours before the alleged rape became a focal point of the trial as each side sought to prove its account by selectively citing the messages.

Waukeen McCoy, the woman’s attorney, held them up as evidence that the woman was unaware that all three of the men were coming over and that she did not intend to have sex with them. Defense lawyers Mark Baute and Michael Monico used them to demonstrate that the woman was alert in the hours before the alleged assault and wanted the men to come to her apartment for sex.

The jury must reach unanimous verdicts on the three defendants separately, and on each of three allegations: trespassing, sexually battery and battery.

In harsh closing arguments Tuesday the two sides traded ugly jabs, with McCoy calling the men “sexual deviants” and Baute portraying the woman as a scheming liar trying to extort Rose.

Baute pressed the jury not to award the woman even a nominal amount of money, saying any verdict for the woman would put in jeopardy Rose’s contract with the Knicks and a lucrative sponsorship deal he has with shoemaker Adidas.

Rose emerged as one of the NBA’s elite guards after joining the league in 2008. After several seasons playing for the Chicago Bulls, he was traded this year to New York amid persistent questions about a string of injuries that have sidelined him for long stretches.