In March, the Michigan Daily reported that LSA sophomore Brianna Porter sent a chain e-mail to members of the University’s Greek community alleging that a cab driver sexually assaulted the out-of-town guest of a Delta Delta Delta sorority member.

On April 6, Porter sent an additional e-mail retracting the chain message with allegations against van driver Samuel Pickard, known by many as Big Wade. In the most recent e-mail obtained by the Daily, Porter wrote that police have advised her that Pickard is no longer suspected of sexually assaulting the alleged victim, known as Emily in Porter’s original e-mail.

“If Emily was sexually assaulted by a cab driver a few weeks ago, the crime was committed by someone other than Big Wade,” Porter wrote. “I wasn’t a witness to the incident, and I’m not about to speculate about what did or didn’t happen. I really don’t know.”

Porter wrote that she thought she was doing a good deed for her community by sending the e-mail.

“When I sent my 3/13 email about Big Wade, I was acting in good faith and I thought I was doing the right thing by warning my friends about a certain creepy cab driver but I realize what I heard third-hand was false,” Porter wrote. “Because I had my facts wrong, my e-mail was erroneous and a huge mistake. It falsely accused an innocent man of a sex crime.”

In an interview after the e-mail was sent, Pickard— whose name was omitted from the previous Daily article because he was still under investigation by police — affirmed that he had passed a lie detector test and that police told him that he was no longer a suspect in the investigation.

Ron Carpenter, Pickard’s attorney, also acknowledged that police had told him that Pickard had passed the lie detector test with “flying colors.”

According to Ann Arbor Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush, the case has been forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review of charges. She declined to comment further and could not confirm if Pickard was still a suspect or if he had passed a lie detector test.

Carpenter said police advised him that cases are forwarded to the prosecutor even if there is little or no evidence against a suspect.

As a result of the accusation, Pickard said he has had to change his business’s appearance and remove the alias “Big Wade” from the side of his van. He added that his business has decreased 50 percent since before the allegations surfaced.

“I suffered a month of going through people thinking I did this before Brianna Porter decided to send out a retraction,” Pickard said.

However, Pickard said he will continue to use his street name despite the allegations that might continue to be associated with it.

“I’m continuing using my name Big Wade, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Pickard said.

Porter also noted Pickard’s business troubles in her e-mail, expressing deep sorrow for causing his economic downturn and urging her friends to call him for his services.

“He says his income has gone way down since I sent my first e-mail, and he and his wife are having trouble affording groceries, paying household bills, etc.,” she wrote. “They’re really struggling, all because of me. I feel terrible about this, and I have apologized profusely to Big Wade. That’s why I am doing whatever I can to undo the damage I’ve done to his reputation.”

Pickard argued that Porter shouldn’t have involved herself in the matter.

“I don’t think it’s her responsibility at all because the case didn’t even involve her,” Pickard said.

Though he believes he was wrongly accused, Pickard maintained that he believes that the girl mentioned in the initial e-mail was a victim of sexual assault.

“I want my name cleared, and I hope the girl gets her justice,” Pickard said.

In an interview yesterday, Porter reiterated that she regrets sending the e-mail.

“I’m very sorry that this could have any sort of negative effect on him,” Porter said. “It was a mistake, and I am very sorry about it, and I’m willing to admit that.”

Porter’s e-mail was followed by another Greek e-mail in late March sent by LSA sophomore Lauren Leibach, accusing LSA junior Omar Hashwi, then a candidate for Central Student Government vice president, of being homophobic and anti-Semitic.

Porter said in the interview that members of Greek life and other people sending out mass e-mails should be cautious of the content of their messages.

“It’s a matter of — myself included, obviously — just being aware of what you’re sending out there and realizing that it could get to a bigger audience than you originally intended,” Porter said.

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