(CBS) — Knicks point guard Derrick Rose left a federal courthouse in Los Angeles feeling different than when he walked in earlier Wednesday. His lawyers say his reaction of being cleared of all charges in a rape civil lawsuit can be summed up in one word: relief.
Rose and two friends have been cleared of wrongdoing and found not liable in a civil lawsuit accusing them of gang raping a woman in August 2013.
An eight-person jury came to a unanimous decision Wednesday after about three hours of deliberation.
The central issue in the trial was consent, with lawyers for the plaintiff arguing she never agreed to have sex with Rose and two of his friends in the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2013, but the jury didn’t find any wrongdoing on the part of the men.
Rose said he assumed consent based on their past, a text message she sent out of the blue that morning saying he made her “horny” and her behavior throughout the day and night. The defense had added the woman was angry Rose dumped her after she willingly engaged in sex with him and his childhood friends in August 2013. They also said she lied to cash in on Rose’s wealth.
“It looked like a setup,” Rose testified in the trial.
Throughout the case, the accuser’s lawyers had called the actions of Rose and his two friends “classic” gang rape, saying she was either too drunk or had been drugged when the three men had sex with her on the night in question. At one point during deposition, Rose admitted he didn’t understand the word “consent.”
“She’s pretty devastated and she’s saddened that the jury came back in this way,” said the woman’s attorney, Waukeen McCoy. “It’s really hard for women to come forward like this.”
The woman was seeking $21.5 million when she filed suit. Jurors in the case had to reach a unanimous verdict.
Rose played his first eight NBA seasons with his hometown Bulls before being traded to the Knicks in June. He’s played in just one preseason game for New York before leaving the team for the trial in Los Angeles.
After being cleared, Rose says he’s now ready to “focus on the season.”
Meanwhile, the plaintiff might have other plans. Her attorney, McCoy, says she may have grounds for an appeal. Rose was never charged criminally and the Los Angeles Police Department says the case is still open.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.