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Legal Posturing Begins in Lynch Incident

Lynch situation continues to drag out (Photo Source)

Over fifteen days ago, Toronto native Kimberly Shpeley was struck by a Porsche SUV in downtown Buffalo in a hit-and-run incident that left her bruised, battered and stitched up.

Two weeks later, Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch - the owner of the vehicle in question - still hasn't talked about what occurred in the wee hours of the morning of May 31.  The seeming lack of new information over the past two weeks has frustrated nearly all parties involved; this is a situation that, in any normal circumstance, likely would have been resolved by this point.

If you're of the opinion that the case isn't moving forward, however, you're mistaken - battle lines are being drawn on all three sides of this issue.  The resolution of this legal matter may not be swift, but it is forthcoming.

The Lynch Camp - namely, Lynch and his attorney, Michael Caffery - have stayed away from talking about the issue, both to the investigators involved as well as the media.  Larry Felser of The Buffalo News doesn't see the sense in such an approach:

District Attorney Frank Clark suggests that Lynch, because he doesn’t have a rap sheet, is unlikely to do jail time no matter what his role in the hit-run caper. Which brings up another question: If he has a relatively clean record, why mess with it?

Just because Lynch isn't talking about his involvement (or the involvement of his Porsche) doesn't mean he's not talking at all.  Lynch on Saturday was very open about his willingness to give back to the community at a recent football camp for kids, hosted by Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley:

''I always have fun when I'm out here with the kids,'' said Lynch, a University of California product who finished 11th in the league in rushing with 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie year last season.

''They run around with so much energy, it reminds me of how I got started and doing what I do now. I had to get some 'act right' in my system early and a camp like this would have helped. LaMarr came from some pretty rough streets like I did (in Oakland, Calif.). That motivates you to succeed and now, it's time to give back to the community and give the kids opportunities we didn't have.''

The Investigators, led by District Attorney Frank Clark, have been the drivers of the media bandwagon surrounding this incident.  After two weeks of talking to a brick wall (i.e. the Lynch camp), the D.A. handed out five subpoenas to Bills players and executives on Thursday in an effort to get some answers.  Those asked to appear: wide receivers James Hardy and Steve Johnson, offensive guard Christian Gaddis, Chief Operating Officer Russ Brandon, and an unnamed security executive.

All five will appear in front of a grand jury to testify as to their knowledge about the situation.  Team owner Ralph Wilson remains a possibility to be subpoenaed as well.  The grand jury is set to convene this coming Friday, June 20.

The Victim - Shpeley - has remained out of the public spotlight while this "investigation" has taken place.  It is now being reported, however, that the victim has hired legal representation (Timothy O'Connell of the firm Siegel, Kelleher & Kahn), who are conducting their own investigation.  The results of that investigation will determine whether or not Shpeley and her representation pursue any lawsuit against Lynch.

"It’s not as minor as it has been reported," O’Connell told The Buffalo News. "She’s under the active care of several different physicians for injuries to several different parts of her body. She’s still under medical care."

O'Connell was also quick to point out that those making the argument that Shpeley was exploiting Lynch because of his popularity and financial standing are gravely mistaken; O'Connell is claiming that Shpeley "never heard of Marshawn Lynch before this incident":

Suggestions of some callers to local radio talk shows that Shpeley was responsible for the accident and that she staged it to seek money from a lawsuit are "scurrilous," O’Connell said.

From all three camps - Lynch, the investigators and Shpeley - battle lines are being drawn, with this Friday's grand jury proceedings the first very key date in a situation that, hopefully for Buffalo's sake, won't drag out too much further than that date.  Progress is slow, but it's being made.  Now all we need to wait for are the consequences.