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Perrish Cox case: Jury finds ex-Denver Broncos' CB Perrish Cox not guilty on both counts in sex-assault trial

5:31 PM, Mar 2, 2012   |    comments
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The six-man, six-woman jury met at the courthouse in Castle Rock for about four hours Thursday without returning a verdict after hearing closing arguments from both sides. They resumed Friday morning. The verdict was reached just before 11 a.m. after about six hours of deliberations.

"If Cox had been convicted, he was looking at up to life in prison," 9NEWS Legal Analyst Scott Robinson said.

Prosecutors say the evidence was straightforward: The alleged victim says she doesn't remember having sex the night she spent at Cox's apartment, but she became pregnant and DNA indicates Cox is the father.

Cox's defense attorney told jurors the alleged victim and another woman who had gone to Cox's apartment are "party girls," they were drinking, and they don't remember many parts of that night, including possibly having sex with each other or with Cox.

After the verdict was read, Cox celebrated while the alleged victim quietly cried.

"I'm grateful for all my supporters," Cox said as he left the Douglas County courthouse.

"We know this has been a very difficult situation for her [the alleged victim]. It's been a very difficult situation for Mr. Cox. We're thankful that it's over, and we just want to reemphasize no winners, no losers. We just want to get on with our lives," defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said outside the courtroom.

Later on Twitter, Cox said Steinberg was the "greatest lawyer on Earth. Hands down. There is no better as I recall."

The alleged victim's attorney, Craig Silverman, released a statement on Friday afternoon:

"My client knows she did the right thing by reporting what happened. Unfortunately, outrageous statements about her conduct and character were made that could have easily been disproven. She does not want other sexual assault victims to be discouraged from coming forward. There was wrongdoing and dishonesty by Perrish Cox and his teammates. The criminal trial is over, but my client still has rights, including her right to privacy. The truth is not changed by this verdict. Perrish Cox knows what he did."

Closing arguments from the prosecution and defense wrapped just before 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, and the jury immediately began deliberations.

"We always felt there were substantial holes in the prosecution's case and I was hopeful they would see the same holes we saw," Steinberg said on Friday.

"Obviously we believed in the case. That's why we prosecuted it. But the jury took their time to come to its decision, and we absolutely respect that," Douglas County prosecutor Chris Gallo said Friday.

The closing arguments from Douglas County prosecutors centered around DNA evidence Cox impregnated the alleged victim. They also crystallized their argument around testimony from Denver Broncos' wide receiver Demariyus Thomas.

Thomas says he and Cox met the alleged victim and a friend at a Denver nightclub and took both of them home early the next day. The friend quickly passed out, but Thomas admitted to making out with the alleged victim on the air mattress he kept at Cox's apartment.

He said he eventually stopped because she was too drunk. At one point, he said, he "saw Perrish taking [the alleged victim] to his bed."

It was at that point, he said, Cox told him, "I think she's ready."

It's important to note that Thomas told the jury he watched television with Cox for at least another hour after he said that statement was made and never saw any assault happen.

In their closing argument, prosecutors inferred Cox knew the victim was "incapable of appraising" the situation, and was helpless, because of his statement to Cox.

They also pointed to testimony from Thomas saying the victim was "stupid drunk," and had no recollection of the evening's events.

Steinberg rebuffed the defense's argument, calling the alleged victim and her friend "party girls."

Steinberg said, "When people drink, they do things they regret...and want to blame others about."

He tried to cast doubt on the Lone Tree investigation, saying they should have asked for videotape from the nightclub where Cox and Thomas met the alleged victim and her friend.

Steinberg also noted a key absence from the prosecution's witnesses, saying Denver Bronco Cassius Vaughn did not testify. Vaughn was also with Cox and Thomas the night of the alleged assault.

The closing arguments came after the prosecution and defense rested their cases.

In their closing argument, prosecutors inferred Cox knew the victim was "incapable of appraising" the situation, and was helpless, because of his statement to Thomas.

The last witness for the prosecution was Detective Steve Hipp with the Lone Tree Police.

Hipp played a videotaped interview with Cox, conducted after the sexual allegations came forth.

In that interview, it was a rather testy exchange, according to 9NEWS Reporter Chris Vanderveen.

Cox repeatedly denied sexually assaulting the accuser. 

In the videotaped interview Cox said, "I never sexually assaulted her," and "I never had sex with her at all" and "I swear I never touched her."

When Cox asked during the taped interview if he was going to jail, the officer responded 'yes.' To that response, Cox said, "Are you kidding me?"

Cox announced Thursday he would not testify on his own behalf.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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