ALAMEDA – A defense attorney for suspended Oakland Raiders football player Darrell Russell said this afternoon that her client has been vindicated by a prosecutor's decision to drop all the sexual assault charges he had been facing in Alameda County Superior Court.
Russell, 26, had been accused of 25 felony sex charges for allegedly drugging a 28-year-old Sunnyvale woman in late January and videotaping two of his friends having sex with her in what prosecutors charged as rape.
The football player was in court this afternoon in Alameda for a continuation of his preliminary hearing. But instead of having his case put over for trial, Russell heard prosecutors call for a dismissal of all charges.
“He's very appreciative that the district attorney was willing to reexamine the evidence with the principle of justice in mind,'' defense attorney Cris Arguedas said.
Charges against Russell's co-defendants – Ali Hayes, 27, and Naeem Perry, 25 – were also dismissed.
Arguedas said she was not surprised by the move.
“There was insufficient evidence to convict. That has been our position all along,'' the attorney said. “When the prosecution put on its case and it was challenged by the defense, it fell apart. There was no credible evidence to believe these crimes were committed.''
Attorneys for the defendants had accused the woman, a model who appeared topless in Playboy magazine, of making false rape claims against Russell, a two-time Pro Bowler, in the hopes of collecting millions of dollars from the football player, who was suspended from the NFL after testing positive for the drug Ecstasy.
Prosecutor Kevin Murphy rested his case in the preliminary hearing of evidence in June after showing a graphic videotape of the disputed sexual encounter in which Hayes and Perry had sex with the woman while Russell operated the camera.
The woman and prosecutors claimed she was drugged while the defense said the woman consented to have sex with them.
Murphy could not be reached for comment this afternoon.