BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As police and prosecutors did their due diligence in investigating the Patrick Kane case, they came to the conclusion that there were doubts in the case, leading District Attorney Frank Sedita to reveal Thursday he won’t be bringing the case in front of a grand jury.
“There were concerns that turned into doubts, and that happened very early on in the investigation, before we were even involved,” Sedita said.
Media and the public learned of the investigation against the Chicago Blackhawks forward in early August, learning a woman complained to police that Patrick Kane forcefully raped her.
Despite short statements from officials confirming an active investigation, the public heard little of the case, other than a local woman told police Kane raped her inside his Hamburg home. However the case blew open publicly in the end of September when attorneys held subsequent press conferences dueling for control of the case.
Representation for Kane’s accuser held the first press conference on Sept. 23, noting he believed the case had been tampered with. Press conferences that would follow would not only disprove that, but reveal that the lawyer had been lied to.RELATED | See past coverage of the Patrick Kane case.
According to Sedita, those lies started with the mother of the accuser, but they led Thomas Eoannou excusing himself from the case and representing Kane’s accuser.
The lies did nothing to further the case, according to Sedita. However, the public got the first glimpse that the case had holes.
“There were concerns right off the get go, not enough concerns to be fatal to a prosecution, not the kinds of concerns that you don’t see in very solid prosecutions, but there were a couple of red flags right from the beginning,” Sedita said. “As you went through the investigation, there were more red flags that were raised.”
It took three months for those red flags to develop into holes large enough that Sedita decided he would not be able to bring the case in front of a grand jury, but Sedita said his office and the investigation always treated the complaint professionally.
“We treated the complaint with a tremendous degree of a deference, respect and kindness,” Sedita said.
Sedita said his job isn’t to decide if the woman’s claims were true or false, but to review the evidence behind the claims.FULL STATEMENTS | Watch both Paul Cambria and Frank Sedita speak here.
Sedita described his role in the case, “My job is not to ultimately conclude what is the truth and what is false. My job is to determine whether there is sufficient amount of credible or reliable evidence to go forward with prosecution, and the answer to that question is no. Are there aspects of the complainant’s accounts which are credible and reliable? Yes, but there are also significant aspects, particularly with respect to allegations of sexual assault, which are either not corroborated by other evidence, or are contradicted by other evidence.”
The evidence that Sedita reviewed, although he noted some of it may have been reliable, mostly pointed away from the claim of rape by penetration.
“When you look at the witness accounts, they weren’t in the room, but they were in close proximity. When you examine the physical evidence and when you examine the forensic evidence, principally the DNA. When you look at all those things, the evidence in total does not corroborate what the complainant said, and that’s being the most charitable I can be.”
Just days before Sedita’s decision, the woman who accused Kane submitted a non-prosecution affidavit, saying she would not cooperate with police in the investigation, a foreshadowing to the end of the case.
Sedita had some takeaways from the case, including in his faith in the Erie County justice system.
“I think the message it sends is an object lesson in what happens in a criminal investigation, and why I think we’re in very good shape in Erie County,” Sedita said. “To me, it is just as important to prosecute the guilty as it is to exonerate the innocent, and the other way around.”
The innocent in this case, is Patrick Kane, however he remained silent while claiming his innocence. In a statement following Sedita’s release Thursday morning, Kane said is happy the case is over.
“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong,” Kane said. “I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed.”STATEMENTS | See statements from the NHL, Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks organization here.
Kane’s silence, both to the public and to the police, gummed up the case, according to Sedita.
“If you’re going to ask me what the truth is of what happened … the absolute truth of what happened that night, I can’t answer that question because it’s frustrated by Mr. Kane’s non-cooperation.”