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Defendants Acquitted in Alleged Chi. Hate Crime

Defendants Acquitted in Alleged Chi. Hate Crime

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Three men accused of beating a gay man on a commuter train in Chicago were acquitted by a judge Wednesday.

The alleged victim, Daniel Hauff, had seen his credibility called into question, Windy City Times reports. He was unclear on the details of the attack, often answering "I don't know" to lawyers' questions, and his account sometimes conflicted with that of the primary prosecution witness.

"The victim is not to be believed," Cook County judge Diane Cannon said in finding Sean Little, Kevin McAndrew, and Benjamin Eder not guilty on charges of aggravated battery and felony hate crime.

The men were accused of beating Hauff and calling him "faggot" and "stupid faggot" in January 2010 on an elevated train. Hauff said they attacked him when he tried to interrupt an incident of antigay bullying, and that in an attempt to fend them off, he smeared his blood on them and told them he was HIV-positive.

Witness Christopher Davin captured a portion of the fight (pictured) on his cell phone camera; the photograph circulated widely, and Hauff waged an intense media campaign on the matter. In court, though, questions were raised as to whether Hauff or the defendants started the altercation and exactly how it played out.

Hauff was not in court for the verdict and could not immediately be reached for comment by Windy City Times. While the defendants' families cheered when the verdict was read, Cannon told everyone to leave the courtroom quietly. "There are no winners in this case," she said.

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