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Criminal Justice Reform Advocate and Former Massachusetts Prosecutor Acquitted of Rape Charges
Adam Foss has been acquitted of all rape and assault charges stemming from a 2017 incident in New York City, in which a woman claimed she was raped in her sleep in a hotel room.
Adam Foss, a high-profile criminal justice reform activist and former Boston prosecuting attorney, has been cleared of all rape and assault charges stemming from a 2017 incident in New York City.
The verdict came after a two-week trial and jury deliberations that lasted several days, according to the New York Times.
What was Adam Foss charged with?
Foss, 43, had been charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced in August of 2022. He was accused of raping a 25-year-old woman while she slept in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room in October 2017.
What did Adam Foss' lawyer say after his acquittal?
Foss’ attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said in a statement after the verdict that Foss wanted to express his “sincere appreciation to the jury and judge for their diligent discernment of the truth in a complex case,” according to the New York Times. Chaudhry added, “As Mr. Foss turns the page on this chapter, he looks forward to time with his wife and young son.” She added that Foss was “carefully evaluating his legal options to address the grave impact these false accusations have had on his life.”
Bragg's announcement of the charges last year stated that, "according to court documents and statements made on the record in court, on October 21, 2017, Foss, a former prosecutor and public speaker, met the 25-year-old survivor at a Midtown hotel after exchanging calls and texts for approximately one month."
It continued, "After the survivor repeatedly said no to Foss’s sexual advances, the two fell asleep, before Foss allegedly raped the woman as she slept."
Prosecutors had argued during the trial that while the pair were in the hotel room, the woman repeatedly rebuffed sexual advances from Foss before he allegedly assaulted her while she was asleep, the Times reported.
During closing arguments last week, Chaudhry painted the accuser as not credible, and referenced text messages between the woman and a friend after the hotel encounter, in which the woman described her evening with Foss as “cute” and said that he was “beautiful," according to the Times.
Foss — a former prosecutor in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts district attorney’s office — has maintained that the hotel room encounter was consensual. He left office in 2016 and launched Prosecutor Impact, a nonprofit that educated prosecutors in practices he believes could decrease incarceration rates, according to the Times. In 2016, he landed the 49th spot on The Root 100, a list of the online magazine's picks for the most influential Black Americans.
"By pursuing this baseless false rape case against a prominent Black man, despite overwhelming exculpatory evidence of his innocence, DA Bragg has shown that he values votes over Black lives, and popularity over justice," Chaudhry told Oxygen.com in a statement Monday.
A spokesperson for Bragg’s office told the New York Post that he was disappointed in the jury’s verdict. "Survivors of sexual assault deserve to have their day in court, and our prosecutors fight every day to center and uplift their voices,” the spokesperson said. “While we are disappointed, we sincerely thank the jury for its service and respect the verdict it rendered."
Chaudhry addressed the statement in a LinkedIn post, writing, "Following the complete acquittal of Adam Foss, DA Bragg maintains the defamatory narrative that this false accuser is a 'survivor' ... This statement, while noble in sentiment, raises questions about the disregard for the jury’s verdict and the repercussions of proceeding with cases that lack a substantial foundation, thereby affecting the lives of those wrongfully accused."