Blackhawks

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

seditabox.png

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.”

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Adam Boqvist

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Boqvist is a finesse defenseman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent. He is fun to watch and full of surprises on the ice. He often plays bigger than his size and skated in his first games with Sweden's Senior National Team in April."

NHL player comparable: Erik Karlsson

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would love to have Karlsson, who is probably being traded out of Ottawa this summer. Every team would love to have him. But that's not realistic for Chicago. So what if they drafted his potential mini me?

Boqvist is electric with the puck and has drawn comparisons to the Swedish defenseman as a best-case scenario.

There are two concerns, though. One is that he may need some time to develop at just 17 years old and his defense a work in progress. The second is that he's sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds a little bit of risk to the equation.

If he can stay healthy and his development isn't rushed, there's major upside here. But are the Blackhawks willing to be patient? We're not so sure.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

artemi_panarin_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.