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Uber Driver Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Passenger Found Not Guilty

Reshad Chakari was accused of assaulting a female passenger who was asleep in the back seat of his car. A jury found him not guilty in May, 2015.

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Updated on

An Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting a passenger in the back of his car was found not guilty by a Jury in May, 2015.

Police charged Reshad Chakari almost exactly two years ago — in August, 2014 — with second-degree sexual abuse after one of his passengers accused him of touching her while she was asleep in his car after celebrating her birthday at a nightclub in Northwest Washington, D.C.

"My client absolutely denies ever sexually assaulting anyone," Chakari's lawyer Jason Kalafat at the time. "And right now this appears to be a bald accusation by this Uber rider from that night."

Chakari contacted BuzzFeed News to draw attention to the case's findings. Chakari case went to trial at the Washington D.C. Superior Court in May, 2015 and was found not guilty by a jury, a spokesperson for the court told BuzzFeed News.

When asked about the events surrounding the ride, Kalafat added that he was unaware of any reason the accuser would lie about the alleged assault, and said he was unable to provide any details about Chakari's interaction with her prior to the incident.

"We just don't know why this accusation was made," he said. "It seems clear there was alcohol involved on her part. Beyond that we just don't know because the government hasn't shared with us the details."

Uber drivers have had some success fighting off similar charges.

Also in 2014, an Uber driver in Seattle was cleared of accusations that instead of driving to a woman's fiance's home like she asked, he took her to a park and raped her. In March of last year prosecutors elected not to charge another D.C. Uber driver accused of rape.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority," Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett said in an email. "The driver has been deactivated and we continue to stand ready to assist authorities."

This story has been updated to reflect that the driver was found not guilty.

Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.

Contact Jacob Fischler at jacob.fischler@buzzfeed.com.

Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Ema O'Connor at ema.oconnor@buzzfeed.com.

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