Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said during a news conference Friday that he is not sure how the two-day "dog and pony show" focusing on how evidence was handled affects the main case. Sedita said all the evidence, including the rape kit used to examine the accuser, was handled properly and is still in custody of authorities.
"Obviously there has been an effort to create a hoax," Sedita said. "I gotta figure out who was in on that, why they would do that and what it means vis-à-vis all the other evidence."
Sedita said the mother was given the bag at a hospital when her daughter was examined but that it never contained a rape kit, as the mother had claimed it did. The examining nurse gave the mother the bag after learning the accuser changed her top before going to the hospital, Sedita said. The mother was to put the top her daughter had been wearing earlier in the bag and turn it in to authorities, but she never did, Sedita said.
The mother did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment Friday.
Questions about the bag were raised publicly Wednesday by the accuser's former attorney, Thomas Eoannou, who abruptly quit the case Thursday night and said he no longer believed the story about how the folded-up paper bag was found. Eoannou said he was still confident in the accuser's allegations against Kane.
An attorney for the accuser, Roland Cercone, released a letter to the Chicago Tribune on Saturday stating she will cooperate with the investigation into the hoax.
"For the record, no one has asked to speak to the complainant regarding the latest incident," Cercone wrote. "I suspect this is so because their investigation has already revealed that she had no knowledge of -- or anything to do with -- this entire fiasco. However, should the District Attorney wish to speak with my client, she is ready, willing, and able to cooperate, as she has always done throughout this investigation."
The accuser, who is in her 20s, says Kane sexually assaulted her at his waterfront mansion outside Buffalo on Aug. 2. Kane has not been charged.
"The question in my mind is not when this case will go to a grand jury, it's if this will go to a grand jury," Sedita said.
Sedita said the mother denied ever taking possession of the bag. He said he thought the questions about evidence handling were odd when Eoannou raised them because rape kits are stored in boxes, not bags. At his news conference, Sedita showed reporters surveillance video of the rape kit being stored in an evidence room.
"It's a bizarre hoax," Sedita said. "And it's a dog and pony show."
On Thursday, the woman's mother referred to a statement the family released to reporters that said they were disappointed the attorney was withdrawing.
"We have every intention of pursuing this case to a just conclusion," the family's statement said. "It must be emphasized that there exists no evidence or allegation that the accuser herself had any knowledge of the evidence bag until it was brought to Mr. Eoannou's office."
Hamburg, New York, police chief Gregory Wickett said Friday that an officer who went to the mother's home the day she went to the hospital saw the bag but didn't take it, instead putting the accuser's top in his own bag.
Sedita said he doesn't think the mother did anything illegal because she was not under oath and it's not illegal to lie to her daughter's lawyer.
"What she did, though clearly immoral, is not illegal under New York law," Sedita said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.