DA drops rape charges against Wingate in Texas


Former Dunbar High basketball standout David Wingate cleared one legal hurdle yesterday in Texas and sidestepped another in an out-of-court settlement on sexual assault charges.

A criminal case against Wingate, who played for the San Antonio Spurs last season, was dropped by the Bexar (Texas) County district attorney. An agreement in which the terms were undisclosed was reached to settle a civil suit filed by a 22-year-old San Antonio woman who claimed Wingate raped her in June1990.

"After three different top prosecutors looked at it and I reviewed part of it, I concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Bexar County DA Steve Hilbirg said.

Rape charges still are pending in Maryland against Wingate. He faces an Aug. 5 trial in Howard County District Court for an alleged attack against a Baltimore teen-ager during a party at his Columbia apartment in September 1990.

Wingate, who was en route to SanAntonio last night, could not be reached for comment. His Texas attorney, James Myart Jr., said: "I can't speculate about the case in Maryland. But I can say I'm very hopeful that David Wingate can return to the National Basketball Association soon. He continues to practice. I can say he's very happy and he's looking forward to moving on with his life."

Wingate remains a restricted free agent. The Spurs say they won't re-sign him until his legal problems are resolved.

"I can tell you that I'm happy that [the Texas case] is over," Spurs coach Larry Brown said. "But just like the club said all along, when the court things are settled, we'll go on from there."

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