LOS ANGELES — Jurors cleared NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends Wednesday in a lawsuit that accused them of gang raping his ex-girlfriend when she was incapacitated from drugs or alcohol.
The jury reached the verdict in federal court in Los Angeles after hearing dramatically different accounts of the August 2013 sexual encounter.
Rose says he’s thankful that the jury rejected the lawsuit.
He said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was important to prove he did not do what he was accused of, even though he had to share private details of his personal life.
“I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me,” his statement said. “This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career.”
Jurors later posed for photographs with Rose one at a time in the courthouse lobby.
One of the two men among the eight jurors who identified himself only by his first name and age, Jared, 25, said the panel tried to look at the case in the plaintiff’s favor but in the end could not believe her and felt her tears were not genuine.
“It felt like she was playing us,” he said.
Neither side denied the three men had sex with the woman, but the issue was whether she consented or was too intoxicated to do so.
Defense lawyers tarred the woman as a liar who tried to sway jurors through her tears to get at Rose’s fortune. They claimed she was angry he had dumped her and she set him up and brought the lawsuit in hopes of a big payoff. The woman’s lawyer called the men “sexual deviants” and says they conspired to gang rape her after she was drunk and incapable of consenting to sex.
Coyotes call up goalie from Roadrunners
GLENDALE — The Arizona Coyotes have recalled goalie Justin Peters from the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL to serve as an emergency backup after starter Mike Smith injured his left leg.
Smith was injured in Tuesday night’s game against Ottawa when he twisted to stop a shot and landed awkwardly on his left leg. He had to be helped from the ice and coach Dave Tippett said Wednesday that Smith is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and the team is awaiting test results.
Peters went 17-8-7 with a 3.04 goals-against average in 37 games with Hershey of the AHL last season. He has a 3.08 goals-against average in 80 career NHL games with Washington and Carolina.
The Coyotes also placed forward Jamie McGinn on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 5.
• The Roadrunners have announced a name-the-mascot contest. Fans can vote between Speedy, Wheels, Rascal and Flash on the team’s social media platforms. Voting ends Tuesday night. The team will hold its home opener Oct. 28.
Investigator testifies in Penn State civil suit
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — An investigator testified Wednesday that threatening emails and calls about a witness who helped produce child molestation charges against Jerry Sandusky were not enough to make him fear for the man’s safety. Anthony Sassano with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office took the stand during the third day of trial in former assistant football coach Mike McQueary’s whistleblower and defamation lawsuit against Penn State.
McQueary claims he was damaged when the school put him on paid administrative leave after Sandusky was charged in 2011. McQueary had told authorities he saw Sandusky abuse a boy in a team shower a decade earlier, and proved to be a key witness at the 2012 trial that led to a 45-count conviction.
• Michigan State’s basketball roster has taken another hit. The school announced Wednesday forward Gavin Schilling hurt his right knee last week in practice and will need surgery. Schilling is out indefinitely.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says Schilling had been practicing “very well,” after an “incredible summer,” going into his senior season. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 24 games last season after recovering from a toe injury. Arizona plays Michigan State Nov. 11 in Hawaii.