(NEW YORK) — Criminal justice reform advocate Adam Foss has been acquitted of rape and sexual abuse charges, more than a year after he was charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in a 2022 indictment.
Foss had met his 25-year-old accuser in 2017 at a Midtown Manhattan hotel where he allegedly raped the woman as she slept, according to court documents and statements made on the record in court. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty last week. Foss’ attorneys had argued their encounter was consensual; he had pleaded not guilty.
Foss was an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, whose TED Talk brought him into partnership with singer John Legend on criminal justice reform. (Legend later apologized in 2021 for helping “elevate” Foss.)
The National Law Journal named him among the 40 most up-and-coming lawyers in the United States. In 2013, the Massachusetts Bar Association voted Foss prosecutor of the year.
Defense attorney Priya Chaudhry called the verdict “a testament to the fairness of our legal system” and said Foss “is carefully evaluating his legal options to address the grave impact these false accusations have had on his life.”
“Mr. Foss, a former assistant district attorney from Boston and founder of Prosecutor Impact, expresses sincere appreciation to the jury and judge for their diligent discernment of the truth in a complex case,” Chaudhry said.
A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg expressed disappointment with the verdict.
“Survivors of sexual assault deserve to have their day in court, and our prosecutors fight every day to center and uplift their voices,” Bragg’s office said. “While we are disappointed, we sincerely thank the jury for its service and respect the verdict it rendered. As such, we will decline to comment further at this time.”
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