Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita not only announced Thursday morning that Blackhawks star Patrick Kane would not be charged with rape, but he seemingly mocked the entire case against Kane before shining a light on all the holes that were poked in it.
“This so-called ‘case’ is rife with reasonable doubt,” Sedita said in an email sent to media Thursday morning at 8:39 a.m.
Sedita, known for keeping his mouth shut until all the facts are in, outlined key factors that led him to dismiss the long and twisted three-month criminal investigation that played out in headlines across the country.
“There are significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses,” he stated.
He also cited the fact that “DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim of penetration, a required element of proof for a rape charge.”
Rick Telander and Rick Morrissey on Kane
Share Events on The CubeSedita explained that physical evidence and forensic evidence, when viewed in tandem, “tend to contradict the complainant’s claim that she was raped.”
And he went on: “Although Kane has exercised his constitutional right to remain silent (which prohibits questioning by law enforcement), he has made no known incriminating statements to any civilian, nor has he engaged in any conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt.”
“The Office of the Erie County District Attorney will not present this matter to an Erie County Grand Jury,” he said.
Kane, in a statement released by the Blackhawks hours after the announcement, appeared to be relieved, if not surprised.
“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong,” he said. “I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”
The Blackhawks, which canceled a team practice Thursday, also released a statement that said the organization “has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings. At this time we will have no further comment.”
The accusations against Kane, who was never charged with any crime, were made in early August. The 21-year-old accuser said she met Kane at a nightclub and went to his waterfront mansion in Buffalo’s suburbs, where Kane raped her in his bed.
“We knew all along that Patrick didn’t do anything wrong,” Pat Brisson, Kane’s agent, said Thursday. “We are pleased with the results from the investigation.”
The momentum of doubt of doubt increased when, in September, Sedita held a news conference to shoot down allegations of evidence tampering as a hoax perpetrated by the accuser’s mother.
At the time she claimed to have happened upon a crucial evidence bag that someone anonymously left outside her front door. However, the very next day, a visibly angry Sedita announced to reporters the the mother lied and the incident was a hoax.
The episode sparked Thomas Eoannou, the accuser’s attorney at the time, to quit the case. Eoannou, who fell for the ruse, said that “fabrications” were made to him and that he felt ethically obliged to drop his client.
The accuser then retained a new attorney, Roland Cercone. A phone message left for Cercone was not immediately returned Thursday.
Sedita’s release noted he would not be holding a press conference, and he did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment.
However, Sedita’s predecessor, former Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark, who’s been keenly observing the case since day one, had this to say when reached Thursday morning at his Buffalo home: “It’s been a long time coming. … This was written in the sand a month and a half ago,” he said.
Clark said the winds shifted against the accuser in September, and quickly picked up speed.
“In my opinion once the info about the DNA came out, that pretty much sealed the fate of this case as far as a viable prosecution was concerned,” said Clark, in reference to multiple traces of male DNA found below the accuser’s waist; none of the DNA belonged to Kane.
The DNA information surfaced in September and was confirmed by Kane’s attorney, Paul Cambria, who did not return phone messages Thursday morning.
“Everything went down from there,” Clark said. “And the fiasco with the evidence bag placed at the accuser’s mothers doorstep … in my opinion that gave the feeling that the entire thing was a hoax.”
The way Clark sees it, the reason the accuser recently signed an affidavit stating she no longer wanted to proceed with the case was because “they saw that it absolutely wasn’t going anywhere and to persist would hold them up for more ridicule.”
Clark said the three-month time frame it took Sedita to dismiss the case seemed more than what was needed, given the evidence he had at his fingertips.
“I thought that Frank was extremely cautious in how he proceeded. I mean we’re talking about three months from the initial allegations until the matter was finally closed, which is, in my opinion, a very long time in a case like this,” Clark said.
“But he’s gotten burned a couple of times on some cases and it’s made him very very conservative in how he proceeds,” Clark added. “And he doesn’t want to take any definitive action until he’s absolutely sure of where he’s going . . . there’s nothing wrong with that.”
National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a written statement Thursday:
“In light of the statement issued today by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, as an internal League matter, we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us,” Daly said in the statement. “We will have no further comment until we have completed that review.”
Contributing: Stefano Esposito, Mark Lazerus