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DA: No Evidence Tampered With In Patrick Kane Case; Investigation Is Ongoing

(CBS) -- In his first public comments referencing the rape investigation into Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney Frank Sedita III carefully detailed how the evidence in the case has in no way been tampered with, adding that the accuser's mother's story that she randomly found an evidence bag on her doorstep Tuesday was simply "false."

"The forensic evidence in this case was not tampered with, nor was it compromised," Sedita said at a news conference in Buffalo late Friday morning. "We believe that a person — the complainant's mother — is engaged in an elaborate hoax."

However, he said the hoax shouldn't affect the ongoing sexual assault investigation, unless evidence is found that the accuser herself participated in the ruse.

The rape investigation into Kane is ongoing, Sedita said, though he wouldn't comment on whether charges might be brought, or how the recent chaos would ultimately affect the case. However, Sedita did say the question isn't when the case will go to a grand jury, but if it will go to one, or if his office will close the case administratively.

Sedita detailed how rape kits in Erie County are placed in boxes, not bags, meaning the empty evidence bag that was found on the mother's doorstep never contained the rape kit, as the accuser's attorney, Thomas Eoannou had originally claimed Wednesday before backtracking Thursday.

"The rape kit in question in this case was not placed in any kind of bag," Sedita said.

Eoannu has since dropped the accuser as a client, saying he no longer has confidence in the mother's claim.

"While we are disappointed that Mr. Eoannou has withdrawn from his role providing advice and counsel in the criminal investigation of Patrick Kane, we have every intention of pursuing this case to a just conclusion. It must be emphasized that there exists no evidence or allegation that the accuser herself had any knowledge of the evidence bag until it was brought to Mr. Eoannou's office," the accuser's family said in a statement Friday afternoon.

In denying there was any evidence tampering in the case, Sedita also showed video to prove how the rape kit has been handled throughout the case. The rape kit in this case was opened by the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, the day the rape was alleged to have occurred, and then sealed at 11:39 a.m., Sedita said, before being turned over to the Hamburg Police Department.

The rape kit was then delivered to the Erie County Central Police Services (CPS) lab by Hamburg police at 12:06 p.m., Sedita said, showing video to prove it. Video then shows it going in an evidence locker at CPS, and it's never left their custody since, Sedita said.

The mystery brown paper bag in question was a bag that a nurse provided to the accuser's mother during an examination at the hospital after the alleged sexual assault. Sedita said the accuser went home before going to the hospital to change her top, and while at the hospital, the nurse gave her a brown paper bag and asked the accuser's mother to put the top in it. Sedita said the mother left the hospital with the bag, and she was the last person to have it.

"The last person seen with the brown paper bag on August 2nd of 2015 is the same person who purportedly discovered the brown paper bag at noon, or thereabouts, on September 22nd of 2015, that being the complainant's mother," he said.


The mother likely won't have charges brought against her, Sedita said, because he didn't believe it's a crime in New York to make fraudulent claims to other private parties.

Sedita wouldn't answer questions pertaining to charges against Kane, only speaking to shoot down claims of evidence tampering. Asked about the Chicago Tribune's reporting that the accuser's friend is reluctant to testify in the case, Sedita said he wasn't aware of that.

Friday's press conference came after a wild three days of twists and turns in the case.

On Thursday night, Eoannou announced that he dropped the accuser as a client after her mother misled him about the nature of acquiring the mystery evidence bag Tuesday, which Eoannou initially said Wednesday had been authenticated by multiple agencies.

Not long after Eoannou held a press conference to make the claim of evidence tampering, officials from multiple agencies denied they'd mishandled the evidence or broke the chain of custody in any way. Upon learning new information Thursday, Eoannou made the decision to step away.

After Eoannou first raised the allegations of evidence tampering, Sedita and the county immediately launched an investigation, before announcing their conclusions Friday.

Sedita said he believed Eoannou was being sincere in raising questions about possible evidence tampering but had been misled by his client's mother. While Sedita said he believed it was "immoral" for the mother to lie about the bag, he said it isn't illegal under New York law for one private citizen to lie to another.

However, Sedita said his office would investigate whether the accuser herself was aware of her mother's ruse or played any role in it. If she was, that could affect her overall credibility.

Kane's attorney, Paul Cambria, has said Kane's DNA wasn't found below the accuser's waist or in her undergarments. He said DNA found on her body came from "a mixture" of male profiles.

The crime lab has advised that the DNA from multiple male profiles could be up to five years old, saying that semen, as a protein, adheres to the fiber of the clothing and is difficult to wash out, sources told 670 The Score.

Cambria suggested the hoax was an attempt to undermine the DNA evidence in the case.

"You have an elaborate attempt at a hoax to remove that from a case. That speaks volumes to how important that DNA evidence is, or the lack of it is," he said. "Why else would you do this if you weren't trying to undermine something you weren't happy with?"

He also said he believes criminal charges against the accuser's mother would be possible. He said he believes her actions could warrant charges of "obstruction of governmental administration," claiming she clearly was trying to affect the outcome of the criminal investigation.

"That is a very significant thing, and it can't just be ignored," Cambria said. "I mean, this sets the system on its head."

Kane, 26, hasn't been charged in the sexual assault case as officials with the Hamburg police and the Erie County District Attorney's Office continue to investigate the events surrounding the early morning hours of Aug. 2, when Kane returned to his Hamburg, N.Y., home with a friend, the alleged victim and one of her friends after a night out at the bar. The sexual assault is alleged to have occurred in Kane's home after that.

You can watch Sedita's full press conference below:

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