BOSTON (CBS) – The sexual assault case against New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has been terminated, prosecutors announced Thursday.
“I am very appreciative of the hard work of the County’s public officials and of my attorney Amy McNamee. I am humbled by the support of my teammates and the Patriots organization. I’m just looking forward to focusing on football,” Edelman said in a statement released by the team.
Edelman, 25, had been charged with indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping a woman at Storyville, a Copley Square restaurant on November 1.
Read: Police Report (.pdf)
He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was due to return to court January 10.
Watch surveillance video:
But Suffolk County prosecutors terminated the case Thursday after concluding they would not be able to meet their burden of proof in a trial.
“Specifically, a review of both witness statements and video surveillance has revealed that the Commonwealth would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally engaged in a harmful or offensive touching of the complainant that would be regarded by society as immodest, immoral, and improper,” prosecutors said in a document filed in court Thursday.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports
“The evidence suggests that (Edelman) approached a woman on the dance floor and took her hand briefly. Review of the videotape indicates that the physical contact between the two was fleeting, prosecutors say, and did not meet the elements of any crime,” the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“To constitute indecent assault and battery, physical contact must be intentional; potentially physically harmful or an affront to the victim’s integrity; fundamentally offensive to contemporary moral values; and without justification or excuse. Prosecutors could not prove these elements with the evidence contained in the surveillance imagery, witness statements, and other sources.”
The news had fans breathing a sigh of relief.
“I think it’s good for team to get it cleared up,” said Patriots fan Andrew Dennington.
“Now they can just keep their focus on the field,” added another fan, Matt Smigowski.