[UPDATE] Patrick Kane Grand Jury Abruptly Canceled
By Kate Shepherd in News on Sep 8, 2015 7:45PM
Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrating after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, 2015 in Chicago. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Updated 2:30 p.m.: The grand jury investigation into rape allegations against the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane has been abruptly canceled, the Tribune reports.
Some reports speculated that the grand jury would be postponed due to possible ongoing settlement talks between the victim and Kane's attorneys.
A grand jury in Erie County, New York to decide whether or not to charge Kane with a crime was set to start proceedings on Tuesday afternoon and hear from the first witness at 2 p.m.
Jurors were unexpectedly sent home Tuesday morning, the Tribune reports, but that doesn't mean the proceedings are over for good. Possible explanations include the lack of a quorum, and another grand jury could yet be scheduled later. Of course, there's also the possibility that the prosecution has run into last-minute problems with its case against Kane.
Everyone who was at Kane's Hamburg, New York house on the night of the alleged rape was subpoenaed by the grand jury, according to Scott Levin, an anchor for Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ. The friend of the accuser, who was at Kane's home with her, was reportedly set to testify Tuesday. Both women allegedly met Kane at Buffalo's SkyBar on Aug. 1 and he invited them back to his house.
Kane and the accuser will likely be invited to testify before the grand jury if it continues, the Buffalo News reported. It is unclear whether Kane's attorney Paul J. Cambria Jr. will allow his client to tell his side of the story to the grand jury.
"In the right case, I will allow a defendant I represent to testify before a grand jury," Buffalo defense attorney Mark J. Mahoney told the Buffalo News. “"f I think he can get up before the grand jury and convince them he is innocent, I'll let him testify. If I have a client who is arrogant, or has an attitude problem, or a short fuse, or can't express himself well, I would not let him testify."
It's impossible to draw any conclusions about Kane's guilt or innocence from the district attorney's decision to present the case before a grand jury, or from the cancellation of the grand jury proceedings Tuesday afternoon.
"There are cases that you put before a grand jury because your proof is overwhelming, and you fully expect an indictment. There are also cases where you have proof on both sides, where the proof is not really clear-cut," former Erie County (New York) District Attorney Frank Clark told the Buffalo News. "The grand jury's role is to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed, and reasonable grounds to believe that this defendant committed the crime."
Kane's future with the Blackhawks is still uncertain. Blackhawks spokesman Brandon Faber told the Tribune Friday that he didn't have an answer to a question about whether or not Kane will be at training camp on Sept. 18. He confirmed that the rest of the team will train because none of them are involved in a criminal investigation.
The team has considered a number of options, including letting Kane take a personal leave of absence, according to the Tribune.
In the meantime, the NHL and the Blackhawks are reportedly distancing themselves from the star player. Kane was not invited to the NHL's preseason media tour, which he has attended multiple times in the past, according to the Buffalo News. He already was removed from the cover of EA Sports' 'NHL 16' video game.
Team captain Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith were invited by the league and the Blackhawks to film television promos without Kane for the upcoming season in Toronto this week.
An NHL spokesperson deflected and told the Buffalo News that the league didn't have to make a decision on Kane's involvement because more than two players per team typically aren't invited to the tour and superstars don't always participate.