U.S. Attorney drops charges against Cooney
The U.S. Attorney’s office of the District of Columbia dropped all charges against Philip Cooney (MSB ’10) relating to an assault that occurred last fall which attracted controversy on and off campus.
Cooney was charged with bias-related assault by the Metropolitan Police Department last September, but the U.S. Attorney reported that “subsequent investigation raised doubts as to … whether based upon available evidence we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case was the person who actually committed the assault.”
“Philip was always completely innocent of the charges against him and the dismissal of the case has vindicated him entirely,” Danny Onorato, Cooney’s lawyer, wrote in a statement. “To know Philip Cooney is to know a young man of exemplary character who was wrongfully accused in this case.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office has indicated that they continue to consider the assault, in which a male Georgetown student was beaten by an assailant who shouted anti-gay slurs, a criminal act. Cooney was originally implicated in the assault through a Facebook.com profile and, later, a police photo line-up. During the pre-trial period, the prosecuting Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Mary Dobbie and Joseph Spurber, determined that they would not be able to firmly establish that Cooney was present at the time of the assault.
Neither Cooney nor the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office were available for comment. It is not clear at this time if any investigation into the assault will continue.
For the Voice’s comprehensive coverage of the case, click here. Check this blog and Thursday’s edition for more information on the dropped charges.