Brazil judge OKs ending investigation of soccer star Neymar on rape allegation

The judge issued an order closing the case.

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A judge in Brazil formally closed the investigation into a rape charge against soccer superstar Neymar.

Andre Penner/AP

SAO PAULO — A Brazilian judge accepted a recommendation from prosecutors Thursday to close the investigation of soccer star Neymar on a rape allegation on the grounds of there being a lack of evidence against him.

Sao Paulo state prosecutors Flávia Merlini and Estefânia Paulin announced during the day that they agreed with a July 30 decision by police not to bring charges in the case. Judge Ana Paula Vieira de Moraes issued an order closing the case Thursday night.

Brazilian model Najila Trindade went to Sao Paulo police to accuse Neymar of raping her at a Paris hotel in May. No complaint was filed with French police. The Associated Press doesn’t name alleged sexual assault victims unless they make their identities public, which Trindade did in several interviews.

Neymar, who denied the accusation and said their relations were consensual, was comforted by the judge’s decision.

”If I’m being honest, I can’t say I’m happy, more relieved. This scar will remind me that human beings can do good things, but also the worst,” Neymar wrote in a message posted on Instagram.

Neymar is currently in France, where he plays for Paris Saint-Germain.

”We decided in favor of the closing of the case because there is no sufficient evidence,” Merlini said at a news conference.

Paulin said Trindade did not produce any of the evidence she claimed she had, including a video that allegedly proved the player attacked her.

”The police investigator asked her to plug her phone to a computer so she could see the video, but she (Trindade) didn’t want to do that. She also refused to hand over her phone, and later she said it had been stolen,” Paulin said.

The prosecutor said Trindade’s only injury was to a finger.

”The medical report of a private doctor introduced by the victim did not show an injury that proved she was raped,” Paulin said. “The slaps and the redness (on Trindade’s skin) happened for the satisfaction of both parties.”

Representatives for Neymar and Trindade did not respond to an AP request for comment on the conclusions of the Sao Paulo state prosecutors.

Sao Paulo police are still investigating whether Trindade falsely reported a rape. Police interviewed Trindade three times about her claims. Twelve other people were also questioned. Neymar himself was heard for about five hours in mid-June.

Neymar, meanwhile, is still under investigation in a cybercrime case connected to Trindade’s allegations. After she made the allegations, he posted images and messages of the accuser without her authorization on his social media channels, in possible violation of her online privacy.

The player, who also testified in that investigation in Rio de Janeiro, said the images were posted by his press team.

In an unrelated case, a Rennes fan who was hit in the face by Neymar last season has filed a lawsuit against the player in France.

The fan’s lawyer, Philippe Ohayon, told L’Equipe newspaper that his client, whose identity has not been revealed, decided to take legal action after a meeting between members of Neymar’s entourage and the alleged victim failed to ease tensions.

Ohayon was not immediately available for further comment.

Neymar was given a three-game ban for lashing out at the fan following a loss in the French Cup final in April. After Rennes beat PSG 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the final at the Stade de France, Neymar reacted angrily to the man who was filming and verbally goading players as they walked up the stairs to collect their runner-up medals. Neymar exchanged a few words with the supporter and then raised his hand to him.

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