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Letter from alleged victim’s lawyer doesn’t recant the claim of sexual assault

During his Monday afternoon press conference announcing the decision not to pursue charges against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, District Attorney Fred Bright cited a letter from the alleged victim’s lawyer, in which the lawyer explains that the alleged victim does not wish to proceed.

The full text of the letter has been published by multiple outlets, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“After a great deal of deliberation,” attorney David F. Walbert states, “our client has instructed us to advise you that she does not want to prosecute this matter further. While I am well aware that the prosecution decision rests with the district attorney, and not a complaining party, it is appropriate that you be aware of this fact as you make your decision.”

Walber wrote that a public trial would be a “very intrusive personal experience” for the alleged victim, given the “extraordinary media attention.” Walbert further explained that “this decision does not reflect any recanting of our client’s complaint, but simply a realistic, personal decision as to what is in her best interests, and what it would be like to go through a trial with the expected media attention.”

There are two possible explanations, as we see it. First, the letter is completely truthful and accurate, and the alleged victim abandoned her claim with no strings attached. Second, the letter is completely truthful and accurate, and a confidential settlement has been reached.

If it’s the latter, the truth likely won’t emerge for years, if ever.