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Derrick Rose cleared by jury in sexual assault lawsuit

Rose's legal team says the accuser plans to appeal the jury's ruling and brought into question the woman's claims of financial hardship.

Derrick Rose and two friends have been cleared of any liability in a federal civil trial over an alleged sexual assault.

A woman had sued Rose for $21.5 million, saying he and longtime friends Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen drugged her and raped her after she passed out at her Los Angeles apartment on Aug. 27, 2013. The woman and Rose were in a relationship at the time, and Rose has maintained throughout the process that sex was consensual.

A jury consisting of six women and two men deliberated for three hours, 45 minutes before reaching its verdict Wednesday afternoon.

Instructions given to the jury prior to deliberations told them the woman "had to freely and voluntarily agree to participate in sexual activity" that night and said the jury "should not assume that consent existed merely because of any prior sexual activity that you find occurred."

Testimony was graphic and contentious throughout the trial. During closing arguments Tuesday, the woman's attorney Waukeen McCoy referred to the defendants as "sexual deviants and defense attorney Mark Baute continued to hammer on the trial-long theme that the woman was simply out to wring as much money from Rose as she could.

Legal experts have predicted that the case would not end with a verdict in this trial, no matter how it turned out. McCoy told reporters Wednesday that the plaintiff is considering an appeal and was "devastated" by the verdict.

Rose, Hampton and Allen have not faced any criminal charges in connection with the accusation, though a Los Angeles Police Department detective wrote in a letter to the woman's attorney shortly before this trial that a criminal case hasn't been ruled out. That detective, Nadine Hernandez, was found dead at her home last week of a single gunshot wound to the chest; police said her death was being "investigated as a suicide."

The Knicks acquired Rose from his hometown Chicago Bulls in June. The guard is entering the final year of his contract and is set to make $21.3 million this season. The 2010-11 NBA MVP has missed several preseason practices to be in Los Angeles for the trial, but the team has downplayed any potential impact on the court.