NBA star Derrick Rose is known for his maneuvering on the court, not in one. But when a Los Angeles jury cleared him in a civil case over gang rape accusations Wednesday afternoon, he may have completed his best move yet.
While basketball fans are likely anticipating his return to the hardwood for the New York Knicks, Rose's legal travails may be far from over. A criminal investigation into the case is still underway and his accuser could launch an appeal. On the other hand, Rose, who was visibly gleeful after the verdict was handed down, has some options of his own should he choose to pursue them.
While it's probable Rose's accuser — who has only been identified as Jane Doe because many news outlets do not name alleged victims of sexual assault — will appeal the verdict, it will take some legal wrangling on her lawyers' part, according to the White Bronco sports news blog. It will also take some time.
Her legal team could move for a new trial, argue the jury was not reasonable or seek a "relief from a judgment or order," the latter of which would ask the court to correct the verdict based on "a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record."
If all of those options are turned down by the court, Doe, who had been seeking $21.5 million in her civil suit, could look to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but her attorneys may decide against that route for a number of reasons, including how and when they get paid for their work.
While all of that may sound good for Rose, the LAPD can still bring criminal charges stemming from the alleged incident where Rose and two of his friends are accused of gang raping Doe, the NBA star's ex-girlfriend. The defendants have maintained from the start the group sex — which neither side denied — was consensual. Both of Rose's friends were also cleared Wednesday.
As recently as last month, the lead detective investigating confirmed it was an open criminal case. However, the criminal case's stands on uncertain legs after that same detective was found dead this month with a gunshot wound to the chest from an apparent suicide, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Regardless, because he was found "not liable" of the charges, Rose has the option to countersue Doe, perhaps for defamation or malicious prosecution, according to Bleacher Report.
Rose has been hampered by injuries since the 2012 NBA playoffs, when he tore his ACL in his left knee. He has not played a full NBA season since and was traded this summer from his hometown Chicago Bulls to the Knicks. He has been held out of most of this NBA preseason games because of the trial, but coach Jeff Hornacek said Rose will be instantly inserted into the starting lineup upon his return.
"We’ll have to see how he is, but I would anticipate yes, he probably would," Hornacek told the New York Daily News Tuesday. "If we had no practices or one practice and then we had to play the game then maybe it would be a different story. But we have three days to practice. He was there at training camp, so he has seen our stuff. I would probably say at this point, if he’s there at all our practices, I probably would start him."
Rose's first game of the regular season is scheduled for Tuesday night against LeBron James and the defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers.