Newspaper reports Kane accuser’s lawyer withdraws

Reuters

Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 19

The attorney for a woman accusing National Hockey League player Patrick Kane of sexual assault on Thursday said he was withdrawing from the case, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported, a day after alleging that evidence might have been tampered with.

Thomas Eoannou had said on Wednesday an empty evidence bag that once contained the case’s rape kit was delivered anonymously to the home of the accuser’s mother, adding that mishandled evidence would scuttle a prosecution.

However, the newspaper said Eoannou on Thursday told reporters at a news conference that he “no longer had confidence in the story given to me,” about the evidence bag.

He still stood by the woman’s allegations, according to the newspaper.

Kane’s accuser told police that Kane, a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks and one of the NHL’s top players, raped her in his home in Hamburg, New York, early on the morning of Aug. 2 after the two met at a Buffalo nightclub.

The 26-year-old Kane has not been charged with any crime and has denied the accusation.

“Ethically, he had to withdraw and to me that means — and I think logically it means — that the integrity of the accusations has been completely undermined,” Kane’s attorney, Paul Cambria, told reporters at a news conference.

Cambria added that he was confident prosecutors would look into what he characterized as “somebody’s efforts to obstruct this investigation.”

The Buffalo News reported over the weekend that DNA evidence gathered in the rape investigation did not confirm the woman’s allegations.

His DNA was found beneath the woman’s fingernails and on her shoulders, the News reported, according to two sources, one of them identified as a member of law enforcement.

Authorities in Erie County have said that all evidence related to the case was accounted for and remained in its proper packaging.

Eoannou said on Wednesday the accuser’s mother picked up the empty brown bag when she returned home from work for lunch on Tuesday, finding it between her door and storm door.

Eoannou said the bag had the personal identifying information of the woman and the initials of the nurses who administered the kit.