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Jury clears NBA's Rose in rape lawsuit

NBA star Derrick Rose has been cleared of a lawsuit accusing him of gang rape.
Jury clears NBA star Rose in rape lawsuit
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Jurors cleared NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends on Wednesday in a lawsuit that accused them of gang raping his ex-girlfriend when she was incapacitated from drugs or alcohol.

The jury reached the verdict in federal court in Los Angeles after hearing dramatically different accounts of the August 2013 sexual encounter.

Rose says he's thankful that the jury rejected the lawsuit.

He said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was important to prove he did not do what he was accused of, even though he had to share private details of his personal life.

"I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me," his statement said. "This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career."

Neither side denied the three men had sex with the woman, but the issue was whether she consented or was too intoxicated to do so.

Defence lawyers tarred the woman as a liar who tried to sway jurors through her tears to get at Rose's fortune. They claimed she was angry he had dumped her and she set him up and brought the lawsuit in hopes of a big payoff.

The woman's lawyer called the men "sexual deviants" and says they conspired to gang rape her after she was drunk and incapable of consenting to sex.

The woman, who became emotional and trembled while testifying, had sought $US21.5 million ($A27.8 million) when she filed suit, but her attorney did not put a price on the case Tuesday during closing arguments, saying it was up to the jury.

Rose's lawyer said the future of the Knicks point guard and his whole family was at stake because of a morals clause in his player contract and an endorsement deal with Adidas.

Attorney Mark Baute urged jurors to recognise the suit as a "hoax and a joke" and not even award $20 because that could destroy Rose's career and trigger financial ruin for the star and the extended family and friends he had pulled out of poverty from Chicago's south side with his talent on the court.

Lawyers sparred for nearly three hours during the bitter closing arguments.

The woman's lawyer said the 30-year-old college student was not a gold digger and was seeking accountability for what was morally and legally wrong.

Rose, 28, was traded to New York this year after spending seven seasons in his native Chicago, where he won Rookie of the Year honours with the Bulls and was the youngest player to be awarded MVP in 2011.

He has been plagued with knee injuries the past few seasons and is in the final year of a five-year deal that will pay him $US21.3 million ($A27.6 million).

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