Monday, January 29, 2007

San Jose Mercury News: No charges against Cal football star Marshawn Lynch

OAKLAND - Citing several reasons, including "some grave inconsistencies" in the complaining woman's story, Alameda County prosecutors decided Monday not to file domestic violence related charges against UC Berkeley football star Marshawn Lynch. The decision was made by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kim Hunter, an expert in domestic violence cases. Hunter said one of the key reasons for the decision not to prosecute was that the woman making the complaint gave conflicting statements in the police report and to officers doing the follow-up investigation. "The victim's story has some grave inconsistencies," Hunter said. In the initial police report, there was only a mention of Lynch "grabbing and pushing" the woman. But the woman added other details of the confrontation in later interviews and documents.  One of those documents was a petition for a restraining order in which the woman said Lynch, "choke me. slap me then slap himself. pick me up and though(sic) me in the car laid on top of me with his hands over my mouth."  Other reasons cited by Hunter for not charging the case included no visible injuries to the woman, no pictures of any injuries and a statement from someone who knows both Lynch and the woman and was present at the so-called confrontation that "nothing happened" between them.

"We cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," Hunter said. Lynch's attorney, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, said he was "delighted" that no charges were filed and suggested the accuser had money as a motive. The accuser and Lynch had graduated from Oakland Tech together in 2003. At one point, they had a relationship. Lynch is also expected to be a first round pick in the upcoming National Football League draft, a position that could earn him millions of dollars.  "Marshawn had broken up with her and she didn't take it very well and her mother did not take it very well," he said. "People had known that someday (Marshawn) would have been making a lot of money. There are people out there that might think he is their ticket out of a certain lifestyle or a certain living situation."  In addition to the conflicting statements, court documents show Lynch's accuser also had a troubled relationship with her own attorney.  While trying to win a permanent restraining order, the accuser's lawyer, Sandra Banks, was also trying to take herself off the case. Banks claimed the accuser did not want her as an attorney and that their "communication has deteriorated to such a degree that counsel cannot continue to represent petitioner," Banks wrote in a court document.  "The communication is far too hostile for counsel to communicate in any reasonable way," she added.  Banks did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Authorities also said that some statements made by the woman in an application for a restraining order against Lynch -- which was granted last Friday by a judge -- "were never told to police." Hunter said the woman made a report to Oakland police on Dec. 15, two days after she claimed she was victimized by Lynch outside her mother's North Oakland home. Hunter said the report came in as a misdemeanor domestic violence case with no injuries. She said police Special Victims Unit officers "went above and beyond"  the normal scope of an investigation in such cases "for the protection of both sides."  That included getting statements from the woman and her mother, the third party -- who Hunter would not identity - and other people she would not identity. No formal statement was taken from Lynch but interviews were conducted with people Lynch talked with about the accusations.


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