In this photograph taken on Monday, Aug. 17, 2009, Chicago player Patrick Kane reads a statement to the media before the U.S. Olympic Men\'s Ice Hockey Orientation Camp in Woodridge, Ill.. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Paul Beaty)
BUFFALO, N.Y. - After reiterating his innocence following a brief court appearance, Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane became emotional as he made the short walk back to his lawyer's office Thursday.
Flanked by his parents, Patrick Sr. and Donna Kane, and attorney Paul Cambria, Kane became teary-eyed as a reporter asked about the emotional toll he's under facing misdemeanour assault, theft and harassment charges that he and his cousin beat up a cab driver over a fare.
Kane, 20, and his cousin James Kane, 21, pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment before Buffalo judge Thomas Amodeo. The appearance came a day after the two were indicted by a grand jury. The panel dismissed a more serious felony charge of second-degree robbery.
Amodeo adjourned the case until Aug. 27 and granted a defence request that the Kanes do not need to appear at that session. They're free without bail.
The judge also granted a request made by both Cambria and assistant district attorney Paul Bonanno that the Kanes and cabbie Jan Radecki have no contact with each other.
The Kanes were arrested Aug. 9 after Radecki told police they attacked him when he said he didn't have 20 cents in change for the fare. The driver had bruises and broken glasses.
Patrick Kane, who grew up in Buffalo, was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and the NHL's rookie of the year in 2008.
He was back in his hometown Thursday after taking part in a three-day U.S. Olympic hockey camp in suburban Chicago this week.
"Today was a tough day for us," Kane said, briefly addressing reporters following the hearing. "I just reiterated to the judge that I'm not guilty of any crime, and I'm confident in the legal process."
Kane began by discussing his experience at the Olympic camp.
"I spent the last three days skating with some of the best hockey players in the world, and it reminded me how lucky I am to do this job for a living," he said. "I'm grateful to be a part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization, and hopefully I can play for my country at the Olympics."
Kane then left without answering questions, and was followed by reporters while crossing the street and entering Cambria's office building.
Cambria declined comment.
He's previously said that he's had numerous discussions with the district attorney's office about a potential plea deal. D.A. Frank Sedita III has declined to discuss the possibility of reaching a plea deal with Kane.
James Kane was represented by attorney Joel Daniels.