Felony dismissal a relief

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

WOODRIDGE, Ill. -- Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane says it's a "positive step" that he will be charged only on misdemeanour assault and theft charges in connection with an attack on a Buffalo taxi driver over change for a fare.

An Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III said yesterday in Buffalo that a grand jury dismissed a more serious felony charge of second-degree robbery.

"Yeah, if the felony's dropped that's obviously a positive step -- definitely," Kane, 20, said as the three-day U.S. Olympic orientation camp ended.

"The sooner it gets over with, the more everyone will be happy."

Kane and his cousin, James Kane, were arrested on Aug. 9 after 62-year-old cabbie Jan Radecki told police they attacked him when he said he didn't have 20 cents in change for the fare.

James Kane was indicted on the same charges.

The Kanes earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges.

They are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.

"As is the practice in all criminal cases, the assigned prosecutor and defence counsel will discuss a possible resolution of the case short of trial," Sedita said in a statement.

A plea deal, he added, would be based in part on the victim's wishes and the severity of his injuries.

Kane, meanwhile, enjoyed the orientation camp, where he was warmly received by Blackhawks fans despite the charges.

"The fans have been great," he said. "There was a great reception here when I got announced.

"It's been a fun week for me, to see all the support you have in Chicago."


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