Garrett Wittels cleared of charges
NASSAU, Bahamas -- A court in the Bahamas dismissed a rape case Monday against a Florida International baseball star and two friends who were accused of sexually assaulting two American teens after a night of drinking at an island resort.
Judge Derrence Rolle-Davis dropped the charges against Garrett Wittels and two friends from New York at the request of prosecutors who said they had no case against the men. The judge ordered the $10,000 bond paid by each should be returned. "You are free to go," he told them.
Outside court, Wittels, who had a 56-game hitting streak end earlier this year, shook hands with police and his lawyers. He and his two friends, Robert Rothschild and Jonathan Oberti, declined to speak to reporters.
Defense lawyer Richard Sharpstein said the accusations stemmed from an apparent attempt to extort money from the Atlantis resort, where the three friends and two 17-year-olds from the United States spent an evening drinking and gambling at the casino in December 2010.
"The nightmare is over for Garrett," Sharpstein said. "This case was nothing but an outrageous persecution of Garrett based on perjured testimony, a pack of lies told by these young ladies and encouraged by one of their fathers, who attempted to execute an extortion scam against Atlantis."
The three men had insisted on their innocence from the start.
Wittels' 56-game hitting streak ended in the season opener against Southeastern Louisiana when he went 0 for 4, leaving him two games shy of Robin Ventura's 58-game Division I record and four short of the NCAA all-divisions mark set by Damian Costantino of Division III Salve Regina from 2001-03.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press