Greg Kelly Rape Probe Ends in 'Total Exoneration' Letter From Prosecutor
NEW YORK -- Manhattan prosecutors closed their two-week rape investigation of Greg Kelly, a local television newscaster and son of the city police commissioner, with an unusual letter clearing him of all criminal conduct.
"The facts established during our investigation do not fit the definitions of sexual assault crimes under New York criminal law," Martha Bashford, chief of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan district attorney's office, wrote in the letter to Andrew Lankler, Kelly's attorney. "Therefore, no criminal charges are appropriate."
Kelly's accuser, a paralegal, reportedly told police in late January that Kelly raped her in her office while she was too intoxicated to resist, after the two had drinks at a bar in lower Manhattan last October. In the letter to Kelly's attorney, Bashford said the accuser's account was unsupported by the investigation, which included a review of "receipts, security logs, text messages and telephone records," as well as witness interviews.
"I am thankful that the investigation established what I've known all along, that I am innocent of the allegations that were waged against me," Kelly said in a statement.
Former prosecutors and defense attorneys said it was unsurprising that prosecutors did not bring charges, given the woman's long delay in making her complaint, and other complicating factors, such as text messages she reportedly exchanged with Kelly after the evening of the alleged assault. But they called the prosecution letter highly unusual and a major boost for Kelly.
"Kelly got something that I've never seen another defendant get, which is essentially a total exoneration letter," said Paul Callan, a criminal defense attorney and former Brooklyn prosecutor.
Prosecutors who decline to press charges at the end of a criminal investigation typically either make no comment at all or simply state there was insufficient evidence of a crime to bring the case before a grand jury, said Joseph Benfante, a Manhattan criminal defense attorney.
"I've never seen a letter like that," Benfante said. "It's not giving the Pope's blessing to it, but they're saying that a crime did not occur."
Prosecutors do not intend to bring false reporting charges against the young woman who filed the complaint, according to Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office.
But Kelly's accuser may still feel a sting from the outcome of the investigation. On Wednesday, the New York Post published her name and photograph on its heavily-trafficked website.
The Post had previously published stories citing anonymous law enforcement sources disparaging the woman's allegations as fabrications. But until Wednesday, the newspaper had refrained from publishing her name, in keeping with longstanding practice at U.S. media outlets in sexual assault investigations.
"That's unusual, big-time," Benfante said. "Now the dogs of hell are unleashed upon her."
While the release of the accuser's name and photo will almost certainly expose her to ridicule and scorn, it could also further embarrass Kelly, if it drives her to air her story in public.
"I think the publication of her name is a very bad thing for Greg Kelly," Callan said. "Now it puts her up against the wall."