Our Pledge To You

News

In Patrick Kane incident, we know the who, but not the what

So where do we stand with Patrick Kane and the police investigation into an alleged incident at his suburban Buffalo home?

Nobody knows for certain.

But there are random interpretations and repercussions and, yes, factoids swirling around about whatever did — or didn’t — happen involving the Blackhawks superstar on that first weekend in August.

No charges have been filed. And it’s possible none ever will be filed.

But we do know these things:

Kane has rehired flamboyant Paul Cambria, the defense attorney who represented Kane six years ago when he pleaded guilty to a noncriminal charge of disorderly conduct after being accused of assaulting a Buffalo cab driver over 20 cents. (Obviously, it wasn’t the 20 cents that was the issue for Kane, who was wealthy then and recently signed an eight-year, $84 million contract with the Hawks.)

Cambria, who has been called ‘‘the go-to lawyer for the porn industry’s biggest fights,’’ one of which was a 2013 battle against a government mandate that porn actors wear condoms during intercourse, specializes in First Amendment issues and has represented Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, rocker Marilyn Manson and rapper DMX.

So there’s that.

It’s also known that the potential prosecutor in this case — the man who may or may not bring charges but will have to back up whatever he does — is Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

Sedita has been in the business 27 years, comes from a powerful political family in western New York, and, according to reports, his office, during his seven years at the helm, has a 98 percent felony conviction rate. That means Sedita doesn’t try cases he and his staff aren’t virtually guaranteed to win. Out of 50 cases, he’ll lose one. And you can bet he doesn’t like that one loss, either.

Said to have higher political ambitions, like running for an open seat on the New York Supreme Court in September, Sedita must be cautious. He has been mum about the Kane case, and legally he has several years to bring charges, should he desire. But he’s in a spot just by being the DA.

Bring charges and lose, and there could go his bright future and reputation.

Refuse to bring charges, and complaints from anyone sensing unfair play could derail him forever.

Social media is riddled with comments from people ripping and defending Kane, demanding justice this way or that, saying Kane’s drinking is to blame, on and on. A Buffalo bar owner has weighed in. So has Kane’s driver, an off-duty cop.

It’s an ugly scene, this battlefield — even if all we can see is smoke from the distant cannons.

Even though Kane has lost a lucrative deal with EA Sports, and his image with teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup on the cover of a video game has been replaced by one with Toews alone holding the Cup, Kane is, at this moment, as innocent of a serious crime as you or I.

But here’s one undebatable item, resonating in Hawks fans’ hearts, no backup required: The joy of Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup triumph has vanished in the breeze.

Follow me on Twitter
@RickTelander

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com