Prosecutors dismiss rape charge against Market Street Saloon owner Sam Mustafa
Prosecutors today dismissed a rape charge against Market Street Saloon owner Sam Mustafa, citing witness credibility issues.
The decision ends a nearly 2-year-old case that began when a woman who once worked for Mustafa accused the 43-year-old businessman of sexually assaulting her aboard his 44-foot boat, The Southern Lady, on June 26, 2011.
Charleston police charged Mustafa with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a preliminary hearing judge found sufficient probable cause to allow the case to proceed to trial. But prosecutors opted instead to dismiss the case this afternoon.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson could not immediately be reached for comment on the decision.
Andy Savage, Mustafa’s attorney, said a private investigator working for his firm discovered evidence that proved the woman’s story was bogus and that the attack never occurred. Savage described her account as “a collage of misinformation.”
Savage said the allegations unfairly tarnished Mustafa’s reputation and harmed his business. “It’s just outrageous,” he said.
The woman, then 20, told police the attack happened after she went with about 30 other people on Mustafa’s boat to party near Morris Island.
Mustafa was accused of throwing the woman on a bed in a downstairs cabin, pulling off her bikini bottom and raping her, police said.
The woman sent her boyfriend a text message following the alleged attack, and the boyfriend alerted police. She initially denied the rape when police arrived at Charleston City Marina but later provided police with a statement outlining the alleged attack.
Mustafa, who maintained his innocence, owns Toast, two Market Street Saloon restaurant and nightclub locations, Charleston Downtown Limo, a deli called Sam’s Corner, Tabbuli Grill Mediterranean cafe and a Southern-style restaurant he named Eli’s Table for his son.
Read more about the case in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.