Patrick Kane’s attorney called for the investigation of the Blackhawks star to be dropped late Thursday, minutes after the lawyer representing his accuser abruptly quit because of “fabrications” in the story of how the alleged victim’s mother found an evidence bag at her home.
“I think that it’s obvious that somebody from that camp — and according to the lawyers, it’s an intimate family member — was ready, willing and able to perpetrate a fraud and it seems to me that enough is enough and this case needs to be dismissed,” Kane’s attorney, Paul Cambria, said after the accuser’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, announced at a news conference that he felt ethically obliged to drop his client.
“My next move is to rely on the district attorney to do the right thing,” Cambria told the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday night shortly before he held a press conference at his home.
Eoannou had previously said that the alleged victim’s mother told him she happened upon the empty evidence bag — once believed to have contained the alleged victim’s rape kit — outside her front door Tuesday afternoon. But on Thursday night, he said “misrepresentations were made to me about the facts concerning the discovery of the rape evidence bag.”
At a hastily called news conference at his downtown Buffalo law office, Eoannou said: “I can only say that I don’t know what’s true and what’s not true. I received the story line from the mother. And it’s my position that I’m not comfortable with that version of the events.”
He added that he’s no longer sure if the bag ever contained evidence from the investigation, but said he confirmed with prosecutors that the bag is authentic.
Eoannou’s about-face comes after police insisted Wednesday that the rape kit and its packaging were handled properly.
Meanwhile, Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita — who has been frustratingly mum on the case thus far — planned to hold a news conference Friday at 10 a.m. Chicago time to discuss the case.
Despite the chaos, Eoannou said he’s still confident in the woman’s allegations against Kane.
“I don’t know how that reflects, and I don’t think it does, on the night in question,” Eoannou said of the confusion over the evidence bag.
The accuser’s mother declined an interview request by The Associated Press and instead referred to a statement the family released to the media.
“While we are disappointed that Mr. Eoannou has withdrawn from his role providing advice and counsel in the criminal investigation of Patrick Kane, we have every intention of pursuing this case to a just conclusion,” the statement said. “It must be emphasized that there exists no evidence or allegation that the accuser herself had any knowledge of the evidence bag until it was brought to Mr. Eoannou’s office.”
Cambria said at his press conference at his home office Thursday night that he would not comment on Eoannou’s decision this week to hold a news conference to display the evidence bag instead of presenting it first to the police and the district attorney’s office.
“That’s not my style,” he said. “I would have taken the matter up with the district attorney and the police authorities.”
Cambria reiterated his belief that Kane has been victimized.
“Obviously, I said yesterday that I felt — because people keep using this word ‘victim, victim’ — and in my opinion, you don’t know who it is until all the facts are in, and then you decide who the victim is,” Cambria said Thursday night.
“And I said it yesterday, I feel that Patrick Kane has been victimized. This happening today is, it’s bizarre,” he said. “I mean I have been practicing criminal law for many years. I’ve had many cases all over the United States and I have to say this is a shocking, shocking development.”
Cambria said he believed the origin story of the evidence bag would become public Friday at Sedita’s news conference.
“I have been told how that bag originated and I am going to leave it to Mr. Sedita who actually got to interview witnesses,” Cambria said. “I was given a version by an individual tonight but it’s not something that was able to vet out and interview people and substantiate it. I’m sure that Mr. Sedita and his investigators have, and I’m confident that tomorrow he’ll explain that.”
Asked if he thought Kane, 26, could have been “an easy target” to go after, Cambria said: “I think that’s obvious, but again, that’s outside the realm of my responses here tonight. People who have achieved things are always targets.”
Cambria also said that a countersuit against Kane’s accuser at some point in the future was “not outside the realm of possibility.”
The case has been the source of intense speculation and rumor since early August, when Kane was accused of assaulting the young woman in his waterfront mansion after they met at a nightclub. He has not been charged. Authorities have said only that they are investigating.
Kane last week said he did nothing wrong and expected to be absolved. He also apologized for the distraction he has caused his family, teammates, the Blackhawks organization and fans.
A representative for the Blackhawks didn’t respond to requests for comment Thursday night.
Frank Clark, who served as Erie County District Attorney for 12 years before retiring in 2008, has been following the case closely and called the bizarre twists in the last 72 hours perplexing.
“I’m at the point where I’m beyond making guesses here,” Clark said Thursday night. “I’m just at the point where I don’t know what the hell is going on.”
Contributing: AP hockey writer John Wawrow, AP writer Carolyn Thompson, and AP hockey writer Larry Lage.