April 7, 2015 / 4:35 AM / 5 years ago

Rape charges dropped against Chicago Uber driver

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

(Reuters) - Charges against a Chicago Uber driver who was accused of raping a female passenger late last year were dropped on Monday, officials said.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said new evidence was brought to prosecutors prompting them to dismiss the charges against Maxime Fohounhedo.

“The case was charged in good faith based upon the accounting provided by the complaining witness as well as physical evidence,” Daly said.

“This new evidence was thoroughly reviewed and authenticated and after consultation with the complaining witness the charges were dismissed.”

The Chicago Tribune newspaper reported that the evidence was a video, roughly nine minutes in length, which Fohounhedo recorded with his cell phone during the November ride. On the video, the two can be heard engaging in friendly conversation.

“At the end, she gives him a big hug and a big kiss,” Fohounhedo’s attorney, Shady Yousif, told the Tribune. “That’s not somebody who’s in fear of her life.”

Fohounhedo, who was immediately removed from the ride-sharing Uber service when the allegations were revealed, has been in jail since his arrest in December, the Tribune reported.

A second Chicago Uber driver was charged with sexually assaulting a passenger in January.

The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles said in December they had filed a lawsuit against Uber for misleading customers about its background checks on drivers.

Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Kim Coghill

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