NBA: Trial begins in Derrick Rose rape lawsuit

National Basketball Association star Derrick Rose is on trial for allegedly drugging and raping a woman in her Los Angeles home.
National Basketball Association star Derrick Rose is on trial for allegedly drugging and raping a woman in her Los Angeles home. PHOTO: AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) - National Basketball Association star Derrick Rose and two friends drugged and raped a woman in her Los Angeles home hours after she visited Rose's rented Beverly Hills mansion, the woman's lawyer told a federal court jury on Wednesday.

"Each of them took turns raping her, they don't even know who went first," attorney Waukeen McCoy told the jury in opening statements of his client's civil lawsuit trial against Rose in US District Court.

Rose has denied the allegation and his lawyer, Mark Baute, called the US$21.5 million (S$29.48 million) lawsuit "a fake case" in which the woman was seeking a "lottery hit" of a financial payout from Rose.

Baute told jurors the sex that occurred during the 2013 incident was consensual, that the plaintiff was not drunk and that she had encouraged Rose through a series of texts to come to her apartment.

Baute said Rose and the woman had a "friends with benefits relationship" that had began a few years earlier when they met at a Hollywood nightclub.

 

The woman, identified in court documents as "Jane Doe" claims Rose and his friends Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen slipped a drug into her drink before "gang raping" her.

The woman did not report the alleged incident to police for two years, and her lawsuit was filed in August last year.

McCoy told jurors that the woman hesitated to report the incident to police because "she felt she would be a target because Mr. Rose is a big celebrity basketball player".

No criminal charges have been filed against the 28-year-old Rose in the case, although court documents show that the Los Angeles Police Department has opened a investigation into the 30-year-old woman's allegation.

Rose, a former NBA Most Valuable Player with the Chicago Bulls, joined the New York Knicks in one of the league's biggest off-season trades.

He played in the Knicks' pre-season defeat in Houston on Tuesday, but is expected to be in court in Los Angeles to testify on Thursday. He was not in court on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Knicks' media day last week Rose said the woman's allegations were "not true".

The woman was expected to be the first witness to take the stand on Thursday.