No evidence meant no Mark Cuban sexual assault prosecution, DA memo shows

By Shane Dixon Kavanaugh | Oregon Live | March 7, 2018

A Multnomah County District Attorney's Office memo offers details into why prosecutors balked at criminal charges in a sexual assault complaint filed in Portland in 2011 against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

A woman accused Cuban of drunkenly shoving his hand down her pants and penetrating her vagina at a downtown nightclub, prompting a police investigation, Willamette Week reported Tuesday night.

But Deputy District Attorney Donald Rees eventually declined to pursue sexual abuse charges, citing a lack of concrete evidence as well as the woman's desire not to proceed with a criminal case, documents obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive show.

Rees also said a polygraph test taken by Cuban and written opinions by two East Coast physicians that found the reported assault improbable offered "significant evidence" against the woman's claims.

"I have concluded no crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Rees wrote in the July 27, 2011, memo.

The woman told Portland police investigators she saw Cuban at the Barrel Room on Northwest Third Avenue during the wee hours of April 23, 2011.

Cuban later told detectives that he had been at the nightclub that evening with Kevin Love, the NBA star who had grown up in Lake Oswego, Willamette Week reported.

The woman posed for a picture with Cuban on the advice of a friend who went to the bar with her. She claimed Cuban put his hand down the back of her jeans and penetrated her with his finger while the picture was being taken, according to the memo.

Cuban appeared drunk at the time, the woman told police in 2011, Willamette Week reported. She said she told her friend and boyfriend the same night about the alleged incident.

The woman said she stopped her boyfriend from going back into the bar and confronting Cuban because he also was drunk, according to the report.

In a recent interview with the alt-weekly, the woman, now in her 30s, said, "I filed the report because what he did was wrong. I stand behind that report 1,000 percent."

Cuban, who in addition to owning the professional basketball team stars on the ABC show "Shark Tank" and has also toyed with running for president, has denied the resurfaced allegations.

"It didn't happen," he wrote Tuesday night in an email to The Dallas-Morning-News.

Portland defense attorney Stephen Houze, who represented Cuban during the police investigation, sent the same message Wednesday morning in an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The revelations come two weeks after Sports Illustrated detailed years of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations within the Dallas Mavericks' organization.

In his 2011 memo, Rees wrote that investigators interviewed friends of the woman with her at the nightclub as well as employees and other patrons. None said they witnessed an assault.

Police also reviewed seven photographs taken of the woman and one of her friends standing next to Cuban at the time.

A detective in the case described two of the photos as "significant" in his report, according to Willamette Week.

One appeared to show Cuban reaching toward the woman's buttocks. The detective also noted that the woman's "teeth are clenched, eyes wider than the other pictures and brow raised showing a look of surprise and strain."

Rees disagreed.

"Nothing is revealed in the photographs which demonstrates a sexual assault or even inappropriate physical contact," the prosecutor wrote.

The District Attorney's Office was given further pause in the case, Rees said, because of the woman's desire not to proceed with the case.

"She will not participate in a criminal prosecution and agrees her claim cannot be proven," the memo reads.

Meanwhile, Cuban "repeatedly and adamantly denied" the woman's allegations during a voluntary recorded interview with a Portland police detective, according to the memo.

Houze, Cuban's attorney, also gave authorities the results of a polygraph examination and the opinion of two medical experts that Rees said provided evidence against the woman's claims.

According to the memo, Cuban was asked three questions in the polygraph exam: "While in the bar did you commit any sexual act?" "While in the bar did you stick your finger in any woman's vagina?" "In this case have you lied to your attorney in any way?"

Cuban answered "no" to all three questions and the examiner concluded that he was telling the truth, Rees wrote, though the prosecutor acknowledged that polygraph results would not be admissible in court.

The two doctors, both from the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., reviewed the allegations in the case. They provided written opinions claiming that it would have been impossible for Cuban to penetrate the woman's vagina with his finger given the circumstances of the alleged incident.

"In summary, there is no evidence to corroborate the complainant's statement and there is evidence contradicting the claim," the memo concluded.