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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Report may help players on party boat

    [size=18px]Report may help players on party boat[/size]

    Allegations that a boat employee engaged in sexual activity should benefit the four Vikings charged, attorneys say.

    David Chanen, Star Tribune
    Last update: December 23, 2005 at 9:45 PM


    Culpepper's lawyer alleges double standard in boat cruise case
    Maybe it was selective prosecution. What about the possibility the boat employee was an eyewitness and cut a deal? And you can't rule out that the jury may never hear about what he did on Lake Minnetonka during a Vikings players boat party in October.

    Many in the legal community said Friday that the four Vikings players who are facing misdemeanor charges alleging lewd behavior on a Lake Minnetonka cruise were given a boost by allegations that an employee on the boat engaged in sexual activity with a woman and wasn't charged. Several attorneys said a decision about charging the employee could revolve around whether the employee's alleged actions took place in a public area, which is a factor in charges against the Vikings.

    Sources with knowledge of the case said Friday that the employee was with the woman in a private area of a boat. The allegations against the four Vikings included lap dances and use of sex toys in front of crew members.

    But the general consensus among lawyers was that Daunte Culpepper's case, in particular, was already weak and the lack of charges against the employee can only help the quarterback.

    "This does undermine all the cases and appears to show the players are possibly being treated a bit differently," said attorney Peter Wold, who has represented a player who isn't charged in the case.

    Investigators from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office were tipped off by a Minneapolis bar owner that the boat employee touched a woman during a lap dance, according to multiple sources. The employee is a male relative of the owners of Al & Alma's Supper Club and Charter Cruises, which supplied two boats Oct. 6 for the Vikings party thrown by first-year players, sources said.

    Earl Gray, Culpepper's attorney, said case reports showed the employee admitted the sexual activity to investigators.

    Andy Birrell, a Twin Cities defense attorney, said this may support Gray's theory of a double standard because prominent athletes are involved, but prosecutors have "almost absolute charging discretion."

    "That discretion is practically unreviewable," he said. "There would have to be an allegation of improper conduct, which doesn't seem to be present so far."

    Prosecutor Steve Tallen has said he wouldn't comment on specific allegations about behavior on the boat, but said there could be more charges.

    Culpepper and teammates Bryant McKinnie, Fred Smoot and Moe Williams were each charged with indecent conduct, disorderly conduct and lewd and lascivious conduct.

    Former federal public defender Dan Scott questioned whether a judge would allow the boat employee's admission of sexual activity into evidence. He compared it to somebody caught speeding who complained that other speeders weren't stopped.

    "In a trial, the judge would only care about what crime you committed," he said.

    Attorney Bill Mauzy, who was retained by several Vikings who were on the boats and not charged, believes a judge would admit the employee's statement because it's relevant in setting the scene. The fact that the employee wasn't charged "adds flavor to the stew" for a jury that may already think the players didn't commit a crime, he said.

    "Throw in the question about the accuracy of the players who have been identified, (it) will be enough to have jurors throwing their hands in the air and saying 'get this case out of here,' " he said.

    Fred Bruno, who has been a defense attorney in many high-profile cases, raised the possibility that Tallen offered the boat employee immunity for testifying against the players. But Bruno said it could appear that the prosecutor selectively picked his targets.

    "If I was defending the charged Vikings, I would make hay with this," he said.

    There could have been 10,000 reasons why Tallen hasn't filed charges against the boat employee, said C. Paul Jones, a prosecutor for more than 12 years and now a part-time professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. Until the whole story is known, you have to assume the prosecutor is doing what's best for the public interest, he said.

    "The boat employee could have been key to breaking the whole thing open," he said. But he agreed that the lack of charges is a benefit for any of the attorneys defending players, especially Gray.

    "I've known him for many years," he said. "This gives him elbow room and the strength to do some talking."

    David Chanen • 612-673-4465

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    Now why is it you don't see this report hitting every major newstand in the country!

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    [size=18px]Culpepper's lawyer alleges double standard in boat cruise case[/size]

    Daunte Culpepper's attorney asks why a crew member who reportedly admitted sexual activity on board hasn't been charged.

    David Chanen And Judd Zulgad
    Star Tribune Staff Writers
    Last update: December 23, 2005 at 8:13 AM


    Culpepper's lawyer alleges double standard in boat cruise case
    The attorney for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper said Thursday that a crew member on a players' boat cruise admitted he had engaged in sexual activity with a woman, and the attorney questioned why that boat company employee wasn't charged while four Vikings on the cruise were.

    Attorney Earl Gray said he learned about the employee's activities on the Lake Minnetonka boat when he read the case documents from Hennepin County Sheriff's Office investigators.

    "Mr. Culpepper is charged with an offense that can't be proved and he will be found not guilty," Gray said. "The only reason he was charged is because of his name."

    The employee is a male relative of the owners of Al & Alma's Supper Club and Charter Cruises, which supplied two boats Oct. 6 for the annual party thrown by first-year players for their team, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case. None of the sources identified the employee by name, and the charging documents in the case do not name any of the crew members.

    The employee touched the woman sexually during a lap dance, sources said.

    Investigators received a tip about the employee from a downtown Minneapolis bar owner, the sources said.

    The employee was then confronted by investigators, and he admitted what he had done with the woman, the sources said.

    Culpepper and teammates Bryant McKinnie, Fred Smoot and Moe Williams were charged last week with the misdemeanor charges of indecent conduct, disorderly conduct and lewd and lascivious conduct. Court documents allege that their actions took place in front of crew members and included lap dances and use of sexual toys. It's unclear where on the boat the employee allegedly engaged in the sexual activity, and whether it was in front of other people or in private. That issue could affect whether the activity rose to the level of a criminal act or was a private activity between consenting adults.

    Gray said he plans to use the boat employee's admission of sexual activity to defend his own client.

    On Thursday, prosecutor Steve Tallen reiterated a statement that the case remains under investigation and that more people could be charged. He wouldn't comment on allegations against the boat employee.

    Attorney Stephen Doyle, who is representing the boat company, said it would be inappropriate to respond until criminal cases are resolved. He said all the crew members on the boat authorized him to decline media requests for interviews.

    While some of the details against the players were made public in charging documents, only basic police reports are considered public until cases are closed. The investigative reports by the sheriff's office are generally not made public until the case is completed. The public court documents do not name the six boat crew members who observed what they considered to be inappropriate sexual behavior.

    The players' first court appearance is expected next month, but their attorneys may appear on their behalf. Gray said Culpepper plans to go to trial. Attorneys for the other players have said their clients will also plead not guilty.

    Culpepper "will be found not guilty because he did not do anything on that boat and hopefully he will get some of his reputation back by being found not guilty," Gray said. "Anybody else would not have been charged, and there is evidence that is true because one of the employees of the boat company admitted to committing a sexual act with one of the girls and he wasn't charged."

    Gray said Culpepper was identified by one employee whose observation of what happened is "quite questionable." Sheriff Pat McGowan has said that eyewitnesses identified players through photographs and that no physical evidence was found.

    "All of the eight or 10 people that were employees knew who Daunte Culpepper was ... All were asked about Daunte Culpepper and no one said he did anything except the one employee," Gray said.

    He also pointed to the fact that the sheriff's office called a news conference about the misdemeanor charges as further evidence of special treatment. Sgt. Haans Vitek said the sheriff's office wanted all media outlets to have equal access to the information. The office had received so many inquires about the charges that they wouldn't be able to get back to everybody in a timely manner, he said.

    "The high-profile nature of it made it a media event," Vitek said.

    Gray also raised concerns that all the boat employees were interviewed by detectives in Doyle's office. Investigators usually like to interview witnesses on their own turf or knock on their doors, he said.

    "I've never heard of this being done in my 35 years in the business," he said.

    Kevin Warren, the team's vice president of operations and legal counsel, said this is an open investigation and consequently the team had no comment.

    Gray said Culpepper is obviously upset about the charges. He's not worried about whether his client would have to "finger teammates" if he goes to trial.

    "Not in a case such as Daunte's. The case is so thin. I haven't crossed that bridge yet," Gray said. "Usually the state has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

    When asked if he would make Culpepper available for an interview, Gray said: "I told him the less he says the better. He's going to fight this case."

    [email protected] • 612-673-4465

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  4. #4
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    singer is posting!


    WOW!!!

























    Go vikes!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    "Lotzapurple119" wrote:
    singer is posting!


    WOW!!!
    You surprised by that Lotza?

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  6. #6
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    Nice chains of events!
    turning tables anyone?

    I can't wait till this is over.

    Singer is the man!

  7. #7
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    Re: Report may help players on party boat

    "whiteviking24" wrote:
    Nice chains of events!
    turning tables anyone?

    I can't wait till this is over.

    Singer is the man!
    I was just wondering about this the other day.

    How come the only ones charged were Vikings players?

    Certainly there had to be someone else besides the players that were involved in some racy behavior.

    My guess is there were, but they couldn't be named or recognized by any of the staff.

    Especially this one staff member, who was a little pre-occupied with his own

    carnal pleasures! :wink:

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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