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Derrick Rose Rape Trial Hinges on Consent

LOS ANGELES (CN) — From the beginning, the parties in Derrick Rose's civil rape lawsuit have offered wildly conflicting accounts of what happened after his former girlfriend arrived at his Beverly Hills home and later took a cab to her apartment.

The 30-year-old California woman says that when she arrived at Rose's residence on the evening of Aug. 26, 2013 she had already drunk vodka and a bottle of red wine. She then drank shots of Tequila with the NBA player and his co-defendants Randall Hampton, Ryan Allen and her female friend, she says.

She says she became so intoxicated she picked up a hot stone next to a fire pit, and suspects that her drink was spiked with an unknown substance.

"I've never felt like that before," she told a federal jury last week. "I just felt I was less in control, more goofy."

But Rose has said the woman, whom he had dated, sent him a series of sexually suggestive texts the morning before she arrived. One stated that she "wakes up horny" and she sent him a photo of her in a nightshirt, he testified.

In court filings, Rose said that after she left Beverly Hills she texted him to come to her downtown apartment.

He said the woman did not seem all that drunk to him or his friends.

"I was assuming that all of us going over there that she wanted to have sex with all of us," Rose testified on Friday.

Despite the conflicting stories, what's certain is that the woman who seeks $21.5 million in damages from the New York Knicks point guard must persuade jurors she did not consent to have sex with Rose, Allen and Hampton when later showed up at her apartment in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2013.

The three men are trying to demonstrate that she agreed to have sex with them or that they "reasonably believed" she was not so intoxicated she could offer her consent.

When he allowed the trial to go forward in July, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald concluded that a jury should decide.

"At the heart of this action are two related questions: Whether plaintiff consented to sexual intercourse with defendants in the early morning of Aug. 27, 2013, and if she did not, whether defendants reasonably believed that she did," Fitzgerald wrote in the July 27 order. The woman says she had passed out in her apartment by the time Rose, Allen and Hampton arrived at around 2:30 a.m. When she failed to respond to their texts they let themselves in to the apartment and took turns having sex with her, she says.

Rose was unable to define "consent" during deposition — a point that the woman's attorney Waukeen McCoy brought up during his opening statement.

When asked if he understood what the word meant Rose replied: "No, but can you tell me?" In his July ruling, Fitzgerald said the text messages the woman sent to Rose do not "establish as a matter of law that she was able to consent to sex" and are "subject to conflicting interpretations."

"A reasonable jury could infer from those communications that plaintiff invited only defendant Rose to her apartment and never consented to any kind of sexual activity, and certainly not one involving multiple partners," Fitzgerald wrote.

For her part, the woman has said that during their relationship, Rose put her in an uncomfortable position by making "requests for her to masturbate on video" and then asking her to have group sex. She says she always said no.

Fitzgerald has said that based on her testimony, her "inability to give consent would have been obvious to any reasonable person," and that her prior romantic relationship with Rose was "irrelevant to the issue of consent."

Now, it will be up to the jury of six women and two men to decide who they believe: Rose, Allen and Hampton or the plaintiff.

The trial continues Tuesday at federal court in downtown Los Angeles.

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