On Friday, August 7, 2015, Clifford Horwitz spoke on the Kap and Haugh Show (Comcast SportsNet), hosted by Chicago’s very own – Dave Kaplan and Dave Haugh. The talk was focused towards understanding the recent allegations of Chicago Blackhawk star, Patrick Kane, from a legal (civil law) perspective.
The original segment from the Kap and Haugh Show can be viewed on Comcast SportsNet’s Website.
This is an amended transcript from the Kap and Haugh Show on August 7, 2015. This has been edited for readability. As being an amended transcript, this is merely provided as a convenience for reference.
Dave Kaplan: We wanted to talk Patrick Kane with you. As this thing starts to unfold there are no charges yet, what is he looking at from a legal perspective, in terms of a civil suit potentially and criminal charges?
Cliff Horwitz: Well, you know the first thing I would say on this is, before I even mention that, this guy is a superstar and he’s, you know, the top of his field and of course the subject of conversation of all the press and everybody has to understand again: there are absolutely no charges, there’s no indictment, there’s nothing. There’s just an investigation going on, and any speculation beyond that is just, in my opinion, totally unfair. And, he’s only getting this because he’s a star – all this speculation and that’s just purely what it is. You could have just one person’s word against another, we don’t know what’s going on – it’s just speculation. But, I can tell you we’ve all experienced what can happen to a great athlete. We’ve all seen this happen. This is hopefully not going to happen with Patrick Kane, but we’ve seen it happen with OJ Simpson. We’ve seen a guy undergo a criminal prosecution and he won his case, and then he underwent a civil prosecution and that bankrupted him. So, there’s two types of cases an athlete can face. A normal individual would never face two actions, he would just face a criminal action because he could never afford to pay a civil judgement. But an athlete, they are so exposed, they have to be so careful, and I know you guys have spoken about this, they have to be so careful because all the plaintiff has to demonstrate in a civil case is that it’s more probably true than not that the athlete did something improper, like battery, and they could potentially get civil damages for the injuries and then punitive damages.
Dave Haugh: Right, but Cliff, I think you might agree that even though the burden of proof is lighter, to expose the alleged victim to a civil case sometimes doesn’t happen because they don’t want to go through that process of telling their story again, and the personal anguish that might create for them. So that’s why maybe you don’t see that happen – maybe as often as criminal – in terms of when you don’t get a criminal result you go to the civil courts. But I don’t know if you see that happen as often because of the realities of the victim having to tell their story all over again.
Cliff Horwitz: I’m not sure how many cases get into the civil court. You might find that everything is handled confidentially before a matter even gets filed in the civil courts – we really don’t know. But I can tell you this, juries are tough. You know, people think that juries just give money etc., BUT that is the farthest from the truth. Juries are very tough. Here in Cook County, 50% of the cases go for the defendant. And, in medical negligence, – for example – 80% of cases go for the defendant. If you get an athlete in front of the jury that athlete is going to be a hero to many of those jurors. And so they’re going to be very suspicious of anybody making accusations – so they’re very tough cases, and they are going to have to strong proof if they are going to win a civil case.
Dave Haugh: When the Hamburgh Police Department reads a statement and a part of the statement includes ‘they are awaiting forensic testing results…’ How would you interpret that from your perspective, what’s he talking about?
Cliff Horwitz: Well you’re getting more into criminal law, which I don’t want to, you know, run into, but I assume that they are dealing with hospital results to determine if there was penetration, semen, things like that – to see if the actual act occurred. You know, then issues of consent come up, and did she consent, and all that. We don’t know if anything happened at all. We don’t know anything. We don’t even know if there was an engagement of sex. At this point, Patrick Kane is completely innocent and should be treated that way.
Dave Kaplan: We’re talking with Cliff Horwitz, from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. When you deal with this on a civil side, how long does something like that drag on? How long does this drag over him from that type of perspective, once there is a determination that there is no criminal charges?
Cliff Horwitz: Three to four years in Cook County, here in Chicago. I would expect it to be the same in New York. It takes a long time, really because, not because the cases are that complex, but because of the sheer number of cases. When you have millions of people in a city, and just one court house, you know, it’s a small place to litigate a lot of cases.
Dave Haugh: So if Patrick Kane is getting legal advice today, because of the public nature, as you said the celebrity aspect of this investigation, and the – you know – the media’s role in making it, in your opinion and a lot of peoples’ opinion more than it should be at this point, would you advise him to say nothing? Would you advise him to have a carefully prepared statement explaining his whereabouts and his involvement in this? Or would you advise him to sit down with somebody and tell his side of the story publicly?
Cliff Horwitz: He should absolutely say nothing. You have to remember that there are people whose careers, prosecutors, whose careers are designed to get convictions and they will use any word in that statement that they can use against him in the future. He has a right to see what his accuser – if there is an accuser, we don’t even know if there is one – he has a right to see what his accuser is saying, he has a right to defend himself. And to put out a statement which a prosecutor can then potentially try to form a case around that statement to try to win a decision, I think is a big mistake. That’s why attorneys tell their clients not to discuss it in public because words get manipulated. We see it, we just saw it in the political debates last night, words get manipulated.
Dave Kaplan: I was also told by someone – maybe you can clear it up – that if one of the Blackhawks officials got him on the phone, they are not to ask him what happened because if he tells them, they can be subpoenaed to testify in a potential criminal action or civil action and they cannot suborn perjury. So, they have to tell the truth even if what he said to them would be a problem for Patrick Kane. Is that accurate?
Cliff Horwitz: Yes, it is. Anything Patrick Kane says is admissible into evidence. It’s not hearsay. It’s an exception to the hearsay rules. It’s called an admission and it comes directly in. He should remain quiet. The whole thing is unfair in my view because he’s a celebrity. But we will see what happens with the investigation.
Dave Kaplan and Dave Haugh: Thanks Cliff.
Dave Kaplan: Cliff we appreciate the time, appreciate you being a great sponsor of ours and if people want to call you or check you out can they get you on the web?
Cliff Horwitz: Yes, it’s just horwitzlaw.com
Dave Kaplan: Horwitzlaw.com, thank you again, you’re the man.
Cliff Horwitz: Alright, take care guys.