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Felony Charges Dropped Against Russell

September 13, 2002|From Associated Press

Prosecutors dropped all 25 felony charges in their rape case against Oakland Raider defensive tackle Darrell Russell on Thursday, saying they couldn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Russell, 26, had been charged with drugging a 28-year-old woman with the "date-rape drug" GHB at a San Francisco nightclub early this year, and then recording her alleged rape by two of his friends. The alleged assault took place at the home of one of Russell's teammates on Jan. 31.

Russell, a former No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft, was charged as an accomplice--under California law, he could have been found guilty of crimes committed by either of his two friends if he did not intervene.

"I think that what we're doing is the right thing to do," Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Murphy said outside court. "It's not an easy thing to do."

Russell said outside court that this was the just decision because he is innocent. He thanked prosecutors, said he was relieved and said he thought the case had not hurt his chances of returning to football.

Russell is serving a one-year NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

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Police in Pittsburgh are investigating whether a woman who accused Steeler running back Jerome Bettis of sexual assault lied as part of a blackmail scheme, two high-ranking law enforcement officials said. Bettis has not been charged.... Denver Bronco tight end Dwayne Carswell won't be tried for a third time in Pueblo, Colo., on charges he pushed his girlfriend out of his truck after an argument.

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Defensive tackle Wendell Bryant, the Arizona Cardinals' first-round draft pick, ended his holdout and agreed to a five-year, $7.5-million contract that includes a $5.5-million signing bonus.

Bryant, the No. 12 pick overall, is the next-to-last 2002 draft choice to come to terms. Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, is the remaining holdout.

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Not only did Cleveland Brown linebacker Dwayne Rudd cost his team a victory by throwing his helmet Sunday, he cost himself $5,000. Rudd, whose 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct set up Kansas City's game-winning field goal with no time on the clock, was fined by the league.

Brown kicker Phil Dawson and punter-holder Chris Gardocki also were fined $5,000 for taunting in the last seconds of the Chiefs' 40-39 victory.

Cleveland also learned that starting center Dave Wohlabaugh will miss at least one game because of a broken hand.

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