While Liu was arrested, police never filed any charges in connection with the alleged rape. A civil court has a much lower burden of proof.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Chinese billionaire, one of the world’s richest men, is set to appear in court in Minneapolis to defend himself against allegations of rape by a former University of Minnesota student after dinner and drinks in 2018.

Richard Liu, founder and former CEO of e-commerce giant JD.com, denies raping the woman, and the prosecutor’s office did not open criminal cases. The woman, Jinyao Liu, filed a civil lawsuit alleging she was forced to drink before Richard Liu groped her in a limousine and raped her in her apartment.

Both are expected to testify and a jury will decide who is telling the truth. Jury selection will begin on Thursday, and opening statements will begin on Monday.

“I think our client’s credibility is one of the strongest parts of what the jury will hear,” said Will Florin, Jinyao Liu’s attorney. “The incredible courage and resilience shown by this young lady is truly admirable.”

Diane Doolittle, an attorney for Richard Liu, said the woman has changed her story and that the evidence will clear her client’s name.

“We look forward to presenting the evidence, presenting the truth, so that the world knows that Mr. Liu is completely and utterly innocent of these allegations against him,” she said.

The woman alleges the assault occurred in 2018 while Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a week-long internship at the University of Minnesota China Doctor of Business Administration program, which targets high-level executives in China.

Jinyao Liu, a Chinese national, was at the university on a student visa and was volunteering for the program at the time. The Associated Press does not typically release the names of people accused of sexual assault, but Jinyao Liu agreed to be publicly identified.

Richard Liu and Jinyao Liu are not related. Jinyao Liu was 21 years old at the time; Richard Liu was 46 years old.

Richard Liu is a Chinese celebrity, part of a generation of entrepreneurs who have created the Internet, e-commerce, mobile phones and other technology industries in the country since the late 1990s. Forbes estimated his wealth at 11.5 billion dollars.

Richard Liu, who stepped down as CEO of JD.com this year amid increased government scrutiny of China’s technology industry, was arrested on suspicion of rape, but prosecutors never filed criminal charges, saying the case had “deep evidentiary problems.”

Jinyao Liu sued Richard Liu and JD.com in 2019, alleging sexual assault and battery, as well as false imprisonment.

The case attracted widespread attention at a time when the #MeToo movement was gaining momentum in China. Supporters and opponents of Richard Liu have waged aggressive PR campaigns on Chinese social media; censors closed some accounts who supported Jinyao Liu for “breaking the rules”.

Jinyao Liu says in her lawsuit that in the fall of 2018, she had to drop out of classes and seek counseling and treatment. Her lawyer says she graduated but has post-traumatic stress disorder. She is seeking damages to cover medical bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and Judge Edward Wall ruled that she can also seek punitive damages from Richard Liu.

She is seeking more than $50,000, a standard figure that must be specified in Minnesota if the plaintiff intends to seek anything over that amount. She is expected to ask the jury to award much more.

According to the suit, on the night of the alleged attack, Richard Liu and other executives went to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis, and one of the men invited Jinyao Liu at Richard Liu’s request. Jinyao Liu felt pressured to drink when powerful people toasted her and Richard Liu told her she would embarrass him if she didn’t join, she said in her lawsuit.

According to text messages seen by the Associated Press and Jingyao Liu’s police interview, she said that after dinner, Richard Liu dragged her into a limousine and groped her despite her protests. She said he raped her in her apartment. She wrote to a friend: “I asked him not to do it. But he didn’t listen.”

After police entered her apartment, Jingyao Liu told one officer, “I was raped, but not that kind,” police allege. When asked to explain, she changed the subject and said that Richard Liu was famous and she was afraid. She told the officer that the sex was “spontaneous” and that she did not want the police involved.

Officers let Richard Liu go because, according to police, “it was unclear whether a crime actually occurred.” Later, in an interview with an investigator, Richard Liu said that the sex was consensual and that the woman “really enjoyed the whole process.”

Jinyao Liu told the sergeant she wanted to speak to Richard Liu’s attorney and threatened to go to the media if she didn’t, police said. Richard Liu’s former lawyer recorded a phone call in which Jinyao Liu said she didn’t want the case in the newspaper and that “I just need money to pay and an apology and that’s it.”

This phone call will be admitted as evidence in court. Jurors will also be told they can infer that any emails deleted by Jinyao Liu contained information unfavorable to her. Both previous rulings were considered a victory for the defense.

Video from surveillance cameras from the restaurant, his appearance and the halls of the woman’s apartment will be shown at the trial. Lawyers for Richard Liu said the video showed Jinyao Liu did not appear intoxicated or distressed, as she initially claimed, and that she changed her story after the video surfaced.

In her lawsuit, she says she went to her apartment building with Richard Liu to be polite and that she believed he was just walking her to the door. Florin, Jinyao Liu’s lawyer, intends to play police body camera footage that he says shows his client was afraid of Richard Liu because he is strong.

“Crazy rich people, they always have a card they play, ‘Well, I’m being accused of this because I’m rich,'” Florin said.

“What happened that night was an evening of consensual sex,” said Doolittle, one of Richard Liu’s attorneys. “Mr. Liu regrets this and regrets cheating on his wife.”

The burden of proof is lower than in a criminal trial, and jurors need only find a preponderance of the evidence in favor of both sides, said Chris Modell, a Minneapolis attorney who is not involved in the case.

When the jury proceeds to consider punitive damages, that part of the case requires a different standard of proof. To award punitive damages, jurors must find “clear and convincing evidence” that Richard Liu “willfully disregarded the rights or safety of others,” Modell said.

After cases like this, Modell said, no matter how much evidence is presented, jurors usually say, “We just listened to him, we listened to her, and we made a decision.”