Blackhawks

Erie County DA: Evidence kit in Patrick Kane case 'not tampered with'

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Erie County DA: Evidence kit in Patrick Kane case 'not tampered with'

An alleged evidence bag found at the home of Patrick Kane’s accuser’s mother is a “hoax,” Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III said on Friday morning.

Sedita explained how the forensic evidence in the investigation “was not tampered with or compromised,” — he used video to show the timeline of evidence being dropped off at the CPS lab on August 2 — and that the bag the mother reported being left at her home did not contain a rape kit.

“Rape kits are not submitted in bags. A rape kit is a box,” said Sedita, who showed a sample rape-kit box during the press conference. “Neither bag (the plastic bag and the brown paper bag inside of it) contained a rape kit. The forensic evidence was not tampered with or compromised. The last person seen with the brown paper bag on Aug. 2 was the same person who purportedly discovered the bag on Sept. 22: the complainant’s mother.”

[MORE: Lawyer of Patrick Kane's accuser withdraws from case]

Sedita held the press conference, which lasted about 45 minutes, to discuss the office’s findings regarding the bag that was supposedly left at the mother’s home on Tuesday afternoon.

 Thomas Eoannou, who represented the victim at that time, said at a press conference that night that the accuser’s mother found the bag at the front door of her home and that he confirmed it to be authentic. But on Wednesday night Eoannou withdrew from the case because he believed there were “fabrications” in the story of how the bag was found.

The accuser’s mother, who Sedita said accompanied her daughter to the hospital for the rape-kit test on Aug. 2, was given the bag to put her daughter’s “top” in — the accuser apparently changed shirts before going to the hospital to have the rape kit done.

Sedita said that, as far as he knew, it was not a crime under New York law “to make fraudulent representations to a private person.” He added that he would check to make sure of that.

“The preliminary assessment is it’s clearly immoral, but not illegal under NY law,” he said.

Asked how he thought this would impact the investigation, Sedita said, “it depends.”

“The purpose of this investigation [of the bag left at the accuser’s mother’s home] was to see if there was evidence tampering. There was not evidence tampering,” Sedita said. “We believe a person, the complainant’s mother, is engaged in an elaborate hoax. The sins of the mother and father are not usually transferable to daughter or son. However, if complainant was involved, it could be relevant. We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

Kane has not been charged with any crime. There was supposed to be a grand jury hearing on this case in early September; that was postponed. Asked when a grand jury could see evidence, Sedita said, “the question in my mind isn’t when this case will go to a grand jury, it’s if this case will go to a grand jury.”

[RELATED: Patrick Kane's lawyer says case is 'forever tainted']

Paul Cambria, who is representing Kane in this investigation, had previously said that the evidence wasn’t compromised. He reiterated that in a press conference late this morning.

“I had no doubt that the integrity of the evidence was going to be intact,” Cambria said. “I had confidence people had collected and tested it properly. They proved that today in spades. I said that from the beginning it was a hoax.”

Sedita talked of how “bizarre” the situation has been.

“I can’t watch a football game anymore. It’s nuts. It’s just so bizarre,” he said. “I saw that press conference that Tom (Eoannou) did a few days ago, then we did the investigation, I spoke to Tom and then I started getting all these texts, emails and tweets, then breaking into the [football] game and, I don’t know how to answer it. I’ve never seen something like this before.”

Cambria said he hasn’t talked to Kane yet today on the latest events, but that he will. Cambria also talked of the cautionary tale of all of all of this.

“I think it underscores what I’ve said at the beginning: don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t be surprised by anything in a legal system,” he said. “This is clearly demonstrating you should keep an open mind until all the facts are in and any steps, links, efforts are possible in legal cases.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.