CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – A Colorado jury acquitted former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox of sexual assault charges on Friday, a verdict that was met with disbelief by the alleged victim.
Cox was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his apartment in September 2010 after a night of partying. She became pregnant, and prosecutors said DNA tests indicated Cox was the father.
Cox hugged his attorney after the verdict was read, while the alleged victim let out an audible sigh and a cry and said, “Oh my God, what’s happening?” before rushing out of the courtroom.
“We’re thankful that it’s over and we just want to re-emphasize that no winners, no losers, we just want to get on with our lives,” said Cox’s Attorney Harvey Steinburg.
Outside the courtroom, Cox expressed appreciation for his attorney and others who supported him during the trial.
“I love my lawyer and everybody else who’s been with me,” he said.
Steinberg had disputed the DNA test results and suggested they may have been contaminated. During the cross-examination of witnesses, he tried to paint a picture of drunkenness, and of the alleged victim and another woman who was at the apartment being able to interact with people without remembering.
“We always felt there were substantial holes in the case,” he said after the verdict. “We had hoped they (the jury) would see those same holes.”
Jurors left the courtroom and later the courthouse without commenting.
Cox denied having sex with the woman, who testified that she believed she was drugged because she remembers little about what happened.
Cox was charged with one count of sexual assault while the victim was physically helpless and one count of sexual assault while the victim was incapable of determining the nature of the conduct. He faced two years to life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors had laid out what they believed was a straight forward case. They cited the DNA evidence, as well as testimony from Cox’s teammate, Demaryius Thomas, who said he saw Cox carry her onto his bed and say, “she’s ready.”
Prosecutor Chris Gallo said Cox’s statement showed what state of mind he was in. Gallo told jurors that Cox expected to have sex with another woman at the apartment, who testified she was sick. And there was the alleged victim, lying on his bed and “ready.”
“DNA evidence is one type of evidence and it’s a very good type of evidence but as the jurors were told, all evidence is weighted equally,” said Prosecutor Chris Gallo.
The alleged victim’s Attorney, Craig Silverman, issued this statement, “There was wrongdoing and dishonesty by Perrish Cox and his teammates. The truth is not changed by this verdict. Perrish Cox knows what he did.”
Jurors heard from the alleged victim on Wednesday. Cox did not testify.
Cox expressed his relief on Twitter, “The feeling i have right now can never b felt, cant be explained, the lord has his ways of work, glad i was able 2 b in the path of that!!”
Cox left Denver for Texas to be with his family Friday evening. When asked if he would return to the NFL after this trial, he had no comment.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)