Monday, August 10, 2009
Chicago Hockey Star Involved in Beating of Cab Driver Over 20 Cent Fare Duspute
Attorney for beaten 62-year-old cabbie says case overblown
Aug 10 2009
Excerpted from story by RICK GANO - AP Sports Writer
One of the young stars of the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Patrick Kane _ the centerpiece of the team's marketing effort for the past two seasons _ is accused of teaming with his cousin to beat up a Buffalo, N.Y., cabbie over pocket change before daybreak Sunday.
Whether the incident will amount to much remains to be seen. Andrew LoTempio, an attorney for the cab driver, told WGN radio in Chicago on Monday that he thinks Sunday's incident was blown out of proportion.
"There was a dispute over the fee and it just kind of escalated from there," LoTempio told the station. "It was not really a robbery. That is probably a large distortion of what happened."
Asked if the case would end up as a felony, he said: "Absolutely not."
"I think we should be able to work things out," he added.
Kane is scheduled for a court hearing next Monday in a Buffalo courtroom. He has pleaded not guilty to felony robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal mischief. His cousin, James Kane, faces the same charges.
Next Monday is the same day a U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey orientation camp starts in suburban Chicago. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Monday that Kane is still expected to participate in the three-day camp.
"We are aware of the incident. We don't condone or approve of what has been suggested the facts are. We are looking into it ourselves," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday.
Police say the cab driver was beaten because he did not have 20 cents in change to give Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and the NHL rookie of the year the following year. The 62-year-old cab driver, identified as Jan Radecki, said he was punched, grabbed by the throat and had his glasses broken.
His attorney said it is customary for some Buffalo cab drivers to lock the doors of their vehicles with the passengers inside _ if they think they might be stiffed on their fare.
"Early Sunday morning, Pat Kane was involved in an unfortunate situation with a cab driver in Buffalo," Kane's agent, Pat Brisson, said. "The cab driver's attorney in recent media reports was quoted as saying that the incident has been blown out of proportion. Kane has retained Paul Cambria as his attorney in this matter. Cambria has told me that, based on the evidence that he has reviewed in this case, there is no doubt that Mr. Kane will be fully exonerated.
"Since this is an ongoing legal matter, I think it is inappropriate for me to comment further at this time. But I am absolutely confident that, when the legal process has been completed, Pat Kane will be fully cleared."
After losing to the Red Wings in five games in the conference finals three months ago, the off-season for the Hawks has been uproarious. And Kane's arrest has been the most stunning episode of all.
Kane had 25 goals and 45 assists last season and had a hat trick in the victory that clinched the second-round playoff series against Vancouver. As a rookie, he had 21 goals and 51 assists.