King County prosecutors formally decline to file sexual assault charges against rapper Nelly
SEATTLE — The King County Prosecutor’s Office has formally declined to file sexual assault charges against the rapper Nelly that stemmed from an incident in Auburn in October, the lawyer for the victim said Wednesday night.
Karen Koehler, the attorney for the woman who accused Nelly of raping her, released the statement she had received Wednesday afternoon from the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Our office has formally declined to file charges on this matter.
“The following statement will be released if there are inquires on the status of the case:
‘Police responded to and investigated a sexual assault allegation involving Mr. Haynes. However, within days of her initial report to police, the complainant, through her attorney, informed investigators from the Auburn police department that she did not wish to assist in prosecution or the investigation of Mr. Haynes. While we have reviewed the existing investigative material, without the assistance of the complainant, this office is unable to proceed or fully assess the merits of the case.’
Nicole L. Weston and Kathy Van Olst, senior deputy prosecuting attorney”
The prosecutors’ decision not to file charges was expected, as the victim basically told them to drop the case.
The woman who reported being raped by rapper Nelly after his concert in Auburn said in October that she would not testify against him.
Karen Koehler, the woman’s lawyer, sent a letter to investigators and media outlets in October saying her client is putting a halt to the investigation:
“Not because what happened didn’t occur exactly the way she described it. Not because she did not want the police to charge the celebrity with alleged rape. She wishes she had not called 911 because the she believes the system is going to fail her.”
The letter went on to say that the woman “never wanted notoriety” and “never wanted a dime from that man.”
“She wants to go back to school and to graduate. And this she cannot do if she remains hidden in her room, crying her heart out. One day, maybe our world will change and thirty women will not be needed to (eventually) speak out against a celebrity who has hurt them in order to be believed. But that day has not yet come.”
Auburn police arrested Nelly, Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., just hours after an October performance at Auburn’s White River Amphitheatre.
According to a promotional flyer, Nelly was also scheduled to attend a 4-year anniversary party at the Aston Manor nightclub in Seattle later that night.
Officers say Nelly went to Seattle, then returned to his tour bus in Auburn with the woman. She called 911 shortly after 3:45 a.m. alleging she was sexually assaulted.
A police spokesperson says the tour bus was parked near the Walmart Supercenter on Outlet Collection Way in Auburn.
Officers said they had probable cause to arrest the rapper and he was booked into the SCORE jail in Des Moines, Wash., for Rape 2nd Degree.
The rapper's attorney denied the claims.
“Nelly is the victim of a completely fabricated allegation,” said attorney Scott Rosenblum in a statement released to Q13 News.
“Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness. I am confident, once this scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges. Nelly is prepared to address and pursue all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation.”
Following his release, Nelly took to Twitter and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Read the full letter from the attorney below:
To Whom It May Concern Part 2:
We do not live in a society where a 21 year old college student can feel safe enough to pursue criminal charges against a celebrity for an alleged rape. If in a moment of panic and fear she immediately calls 911, she will be interviewed, detained, and then sent to a hospital where a rape kit will be administered. Hours later after she is allowed to return home, she will look at her phone only to be besieged by text messages of screen shots of internet articles already describing the incident. Before her initial tears have dried her phone will ring and she will belatedly realize that she is talking to a reporter who is trying to befriend her. How did this reporter get my number…will echo through her mind.
As she cries alone in her apartment with mounting hysteria, she will learn that the celebrity and his lawyer are issuing public statements that her “allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness.” That her agenda is “money, fame and notoriety.” That she is making a “dangerous, fraudulent allegation to accomplish her own goals.” And that they will “pursue every legal option to address this defaming claim.”
The investigating detective will ask that she attend a joint meeting with the prosecutor’s office to give a full recorded statement. Even though she remains distraught and frightened somehow she will summon the courage to give the interview on Monday Oct. 9. The detective promises that no one will know that she has met with them until the investigation is closed. Her privacy is assured. On Tuesday Oct. 10 the Commander of the police department issues a statement to the media advising that she met with the police and prosecutor that Monday. The detective apologizes on Wednesday Oct. 11 and says: “Regardless, I gave the victim my word that the interview would not be shared during this early part of the investigation, and I failed her with that promise.”
Every step of the way since the time she called 911, she wishes she had not. Not because what happened didn’t occur exactly the way she described it. Not because she did not want the police to charge the celebrity with alleged rape. She wishes she had not called 911 because the she believes the system is going to fail her.
She wonders who is she to go by her small “unimportant” self against a celebrity. Who will believe her. People are saying horrible things already. She cannot handle this. She is about to break. She wants to close the door. She wants this to end. She just cannot bear it. And so, today she is telling the Auburn Police Department and the King County Prosecutor’s Office to put a halt to the criminal investigation of Cornell Haynes, Jr. (aka “Nelly”). She will not testify further in a criminal proceeding against him. She never wanted notoriety. She never wanted a dime from that man. She wants to go back to school and to graduate. And this she cannot do if she remains hidden in her room, crying her heart out. One day, maybe our world will change and thirty women will not be needed to (eventually) speak out against a celebrity who has hurt them in order to be believed. But that day has not yet come.
Very truly yours, Karen Koehler