LOS ANGELES (CN) - As jury selection began Tuesday for the civil trial of a woman accusing NBA star Derrick Rose of sexually assaulting her, Rose's attorney complained of a lack of diversity in the prospective panel of jurors after it was revealed that the plaintiff is Mexican-American.
Rose, a point guard for the New York Knicks, was not present in court for the first day of the civil sexual assault trial. The player is in Houston, Texas, where his team is playing a preseason game Tuesday evening.
The point guard will appear in court on Thursday, his attorney Mark Baute told the court. Co-defendants Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen were present as jury selection began.
Their accuser filed a $21.5 civil complaint against Rose last year claiming sexual battery, battery, trespass, conspiracy, gender violence and emotional distress.
The woman - a Latina from California - sat with her attorneys during the morning proceedings as U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald walked the jury panel through a questionnaire.
After the panel was excused from the courtroom, Baute and attorney Michael Monico complained that there were just two black members in the pool of 50 prospective jurors. Baute went further, noting that he had observed 15 Hispanics among the group.
Fitzgerald noted the protest but reminded the attorneys that it would be unconstitutional to exclude any jurors on the basis of race. Because the panel was selected at random it was "tough luck," the judge said.
The woman who has failed in her bid to stay anonymous - her identity will be revealed at trial - said that she that she began dating the NBA star in 2011 when Rose, Hampton, and Allen had trespassed and sexually assaulted her at her downtown LA apartment.
She claims that she was assaulted after she had left the Beverly Hills residence. According to court documents, the woman was severely intoxicated and says in her lawsuit that she was drugged with an unknown substance before she left.
A girlfriend who accompanied the woman to the residence has said in court filings that she did not believe it was safe to leave the woman alone with the defendants.
But Rose his co-defendants say the sex was consensual and that Doe bought a sex toy before she went to Rose's home, and texted the player to ask him to have sex with her.
"This is not a rape case," Rose has said in court papers. "It's pure and simple extortion by a plaintiff who wants to hide behind the cloak of anonymity while seeking millions in damages from a celebrity with whom she was in a long-term nonexclusive consensual sexual relationship."
Rose has also publicly denied the claims.
"I felt like I didn't do anything wrong," Rose has said, according to EPSN. "And if I go up there and tell my side of the story, I think I'll be alright."
The woman says Rose's legal team has attacked her "morals and character in order to perpetuate incorrect myths about sexual assault."
She says 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. Doe always said no, she has said in court papers.
Though court papers have revealed that the LAPD is investigating Rose, the woman says she did not file a criminal complaint after the alleged Aug. 27, 2013 assault because she felt ashamed and embarrassed.
One month later, Allen called her to tell her he did not know she had been drugged and "'thought she had wanted it,'" according to her initial state court lawsuit.
Doe says she feared retaliation and was hesitant to report the rape because she had been in a relationship with Rose.
Fitzgerald denied the woman's request to protect her identity during the trial, ruling that he did not have the constitutional authority to do so.
Rose was once one of the league's hottest prospects - he was named the league's most valuable player in 2011 - but his career has been plagued by injuries. With the sexual assault claims pending, the Chicago Bulls traded him to the Knicks in June.
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