Derrick Rose’s civil sexual assault trial is scheduled to start in just 5 days. There is still no settlement nor any sign that the lawyers are speaking with each other (the last we heard Rose’s lawyers were not even returning Doe’s lawyers emails). Today at 10:00 PST is the final scheduled court hearing before next week’s trial and the Judge plans on addressing just about all of the outstanding issues. The following is a rundown of the most recent developments and a preview of what to expect at today’s hearing.
If you want to browse through the court documents, I have compiled many of them in PDF form here. I also drafted a comprehensive trial primer that will get you caught up to speed on what each side is arguing, the law, and what evidence supports their claims.
New Declaration from Doe’s Friend Surfaces
Yesterday morning, I broke the news that Doe’s “friend” Gabriela Chavez filed a declaration stating that a few weeks after the alleged sexual assault, she went on a trip to Las Vegas with Doe. During the trip, Chavez declares that she asked Doe bluntly if she was raped and Doe told her “no.” Rose plans on calling Chavez to testify at trial.
While many on social media immediately identified this declaration as “the smoking gun,” the testimony may not have as much impact as it seems. First, Doe’s attorneys will make evidentiary objections to this testimony at trial and the judge will rule on whether she is testify about this conversation. Second, even if it is allowed in, Doe may be able to minimize its impact at trial. For example, she may testify (and it is not unreasonable to believe) that she wasn’t comfortable sharing the truth with Chavez for a variety of reasons. Moreover, Doe has numerous witnesses saying that she did tell them that she was raped and Rose has at least one more witness (another one of Doe’s “friends”) that has testified she never called the encounter rape. Thus, it will be up to the jury to decide which witnesses are most credible.
Doe Asks Court to Reconsider Pseudonym Ruling
Last week the Judge ruled that Jane Doe must use her real name at trial. Doe has previously stated remaining anonymous is extremely important to her because her family does not know about the lawsuit and she fears the harassment that goes along with accusing a famous athlete of rape. Because of this, last week’s ruling swung much of the settlement leverage back in Rose’s favor.
On Sunday, Doe filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision. In order to have any chance of succeeding on her motion (this type of request is rarely granted), she must convince the Judge that new facts have surfaced that impact his ruling. I broke the news that, as an attachment to this motion, Doe obtained a letter from LAPD detective Nadine Hernandez confirming that there is a “current and open criminal investigation” into the alleged sexual assault. The parties previously disagreed on whether there was any “pending criminal case.” Here is the full LAPD letter:
Rose’s team responded that the LAPD letter presented no new evidence and that Doe’s motion should be denied. In particular, they noted that the letter “simply repeats what the parties have known since December 2015 — that Ms. Doe went to the LAPD in December 2015 and the LAPD opened a criminal investigation at that time that has not since resulted in criminal charges.”
However, at a press conference on Monday Rose had this to say:
Q: There were reports today that there is a criminal investigation about the LAPD. Has anyone spoken to you from the LAPD? And were you aware of it before today?
Rose: Nah. I haven’t talked to anyone and this is my first time hearing about it and once again I am not worried about it, I felt like I didn’t do anything wrong.
To summarize, we know that there is a “current and open” criminal investigation but there are no charges “filed” or “pending” (the verbiage is important). Today judge will decide whether any of this constitutes new information and if so, whether that impacts his previous decision.
More Issues For Today’s Hearing
Gag Order: Rose has filed a motion asking the court to order the parties and their lawyers to stop speaking with the media.
Rose asks the Court to Exclude More Witnesses: Rose has asked the court to prevent three more of Doe’s witnesses – her coworker and two roommates at the time – from testifying at trial. These witnesses plan on testifying about what Doe told them about the alleged sexual assault in the days following the incident. Rose claims that this is improper hearsay testimony.
Evidence of Doe’s “Prior Relationships and Sexual Dispositions”: At last week’s hearing, the judge ruled that this type of evidence – which includes testimony regarding Doe’s tubal pregnancy and relationships with other NBA players – will not be allowed in at trial but that he will revisit the issue based on a recent brief filed by Rose’s team. Rose argues that because Doe “voluntarily injected issues about her sexual behavior into the case”, he should be allowed to combat these claims by introducing evidence of his own.
Sanctions for Rose’s Lawyer? At last week’s pretrial hearing, the court ordered Rose’s attorney to file a statement with the court explaining why he should not be sanctioned $1000 for stating Doe’s real name in open court. He filed that yesterday and offered to pay $5000 to a rape treatment center in lieu of the sanction.
Yesterday, Doe’s lawyers asked the judge to sanction Rose’s lawyer again. In an earlier order, the judge warned Rose that if he “continues to utilize language that shames and blames the victims of rape either in his motion practice or before the jury, the Court will consider sanctions.” Doe’s lawyer claims that Rose’s new motion seeking the ok to introduce evidence of Doe’s prior relationships and sexual dispositions (see above) does just that.
- Keyana Lavergne deposition? Yesterday, Doe’s lawyers filed a motion seeking a second deposition of Doe’s ex-roommate and coworker who plans on testifying against Doe. Doe argues that because Lavergne will not be available at trial (she recently moved to Miami), that reading her previous deposition testimony and not having the opportunity for cross examination, is grounds for an additional deposition.