LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - National Basketball Association star Derrick Rose was cleared by a federal court jury on Wednesday of accusations in a $21.5 million civil lawsuit that he and two friends drugged and gang-raped his former girlfriend in 2013.
The predominantly white jury of six women and two men deliberated for about three hours before unanimously rejecting the allegations against the 28-year-old, three-time NBA All-Star guard and his two co-defendants, all of whom are black.
“The system worked,” Rose’s lawyer, Mark Baute, told reporters outside the courthouse, adding that “media reporting in this case was biased against a black man.” He did not elaborate.
Baute has said the lawsuit amounted to bid to extract money from his client in retaliation for Rose having broken off their relationship by text message in 2013. The lawsuit sought $21.5 million in damages.
Two jurors told reporters after the verdict that they found Rose’s accuser, identified publicly only as Jane Doe, lacked credibility on the witness stand.
“It was the way she said things,” one juror, a man identifying himself only as Jared, said. “It felt like she was playing us.”
Rose said after the court session that he was relieved but declined to answer questions.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case, though the Los Angeles Police Department has said the allegations remained under investigation.
Waukeen McCoy, the lawyer representing Rose’s accuser, said his client was “pretty devastated” by the outcome and that they would consider an appeal.
“It’s a shame for America. It’s a shame for women who stand up for their rights,” McCoy said. He acknowledged that some of the jurors may have been swayed by the fact that the accuser did not go to police for two years. She has said she took that long because she was “ashamed and embarrassed.”
The woman said she and Rose, who began his NBA career with his hometown Chicago Bulls, and was traded to the New York Knicks this year, dated from 2011 to 2013.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court last year, accused Rose and his two friends of inviting the woman to his Beverly Hills home in August 2013, where they slipped a drug into her drink with the aim of taking advantage of her.
The woman claimed she escaped Rose’s home but that he and the two other men broke into her apartment later that night and gang-raped her while she was incapacitated.
The three defendants denied ever assaulting the woman. They each testified that they were invited to her home for consensual sex hours after they had all partied together at Rose’s residence, a City News Service report on the trial said.
Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney and Grant McCool