clearn.png
Wednesday July 6th, 2022 2:35AM

Jury deliberations resume in rape trial of Idaho ex-lawmaker

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Jurors in the rape trial of a former Idaho lawmaker started their second day of deliberations Friday after a dramatic three-day trial in which the accuser, a 19-year-old intern, fled the witness stand during testimony, saying “I can’t do this.”

During closing arguments Thursday, the jury of six men and six women were asked to weigh whether the case involves “power in the wrong hands” used to harm a young legislative intern or consensual sex after a dinner date.

Aaron von Ehlinger, 39, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object — both charges carry a maximum penalty of up to life in prison — and maintains he had consensual sex with the young woman.

Deliberations stretched for seven hours until nearly 8 p.m. Thursday before the jury decided to break for the evening. At one point, the judge summoned the attorneys to his chambers because the jury asked a question. No details were made public about the jury's inquiry.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, and has referred to the woman in this case as “Jane Doe” at her request.

Doe told her supervisors that von Ehlinger, who was then a Republican representative from Lewiston, raped her in March 2021 at his Boise apartment after the two had dinner at a restaurant. Von Ehlinger resigned from the House of Representatives last year after a legislative ethics committee recommended that he be banned from the Statehouse because of his conduct with Doe.

When the allegations became public — largely because of the legislative ethics investigation — Doe faced unrelenting harassment from some of von Ehlinger's supporters. Her name, photo and personal details about her life were repeatedly publicized in “doxxing” incidents. One of the people who frequently harassed her was in the courthouse to attend the trial, but law enforcement banned the man from the floor where where case was being heard.

Over the span of three days, jurors heard graphic and sometimes harrowing testimony, including from Doe, who briefly took the witness stand before abruptly standing and leaving the courtroom.

Doe haltingly described the moments the alleged assault began.

“He laid me down ... he removed his clothes ... he climbed on top of me ... in just his boxers. White T-shirt,” Doe said. “He tried to put his fingers between my legs and I closed my knees.”

At that, she stood up.

“I can’t do this,” she said, quickly walking out of the courtroom.

The judge instructed them not to consider her testimony after Doe fled before she could be questioned by the defense.

During closing arguments, Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley told jurors that the case was about “power in the wrong hands" used to the “great devastation” of Doe. Von Ehlinger had social, political and physical power over the petite intern, Farley said.

“He used that power to rape and forcibly penetrate her,” Farley said, pointing at von Ehlinger. Doe resisted in several ways, she said, highlighting the testimony of law enforcement investigators and a nurse sexual assault examiner who interviewed Doe after the alleged assault.

“Words show lack of consent. Excuses of ‘Why this shouldn’t happen,' show lack of consent. Yanking your head back and getting an injury shows lack of consent,” Farley said.

But von Ehlinger's defense attorney Jon Cox told jurors the prosecution's case was made up of “red herrings,” and said von Ehlinger was a credible person who willingly took the stand to share his side of the story.

“Judge his credibility, that's all you can do,” Cox said. “For every assertion that the state has made, or any evidence ... Aaron has given you a, ‘This is what happened.’ That, in and of itself, creates reasonable doubt."

During his testimony, von Ehlinger often spoke in a clear, loud voice directly to jurors, telling them the sexual contact was the culmination of a first date with the intern.

“She was flirting with me, so I thought, 'Why not? Go out to dinner with a person? Why not?'” he said.

After eating at a fancy Boise restaurant, he and Doe decided to return to his apartment, where they began making out on the couch, he said.

“Things were going well, and I asked (Doe) if she would like to move to the bedroom,” von Ehlinger said. “She said ‘Sure.’ We got up, held hands and walked into the bedroom.”

In the bedroom, things became “hot and heavy,” von Ehlinger said, and he stepped away to disrobe behind his closet door, carefully hanging up his suit jacket, tie and slacks, before returning to the bed. At his suggestion, Doe briefly performed oral sex, he said. He also denied carrying a gun that night, and said he seldom carries one.

“Very rarely, and certainly not with a suit on,” von Ehlinger said.

But while under questioning from Farley, he acknowledged that he described the events of that night differently in statements drafted by two different attorneys he previously hired to represent him. In those statements, he said he and Doe took each other's clothes off.

He also said he generally carried concealed weapons when he did carry guns, most often a small handgun that he would place in the front pocket of his jeans or suit pants.

Earlier this week, jurors heard from investigators and a nurse who performed a rape exam. They testified that Doe reported being pinned down while von Ehlinger forced her to perform oral sex, and that she knew he frequently carried a handgun and had placed it on a dresser near the bed at the time of the assault. A nurse also testified that Doe had a “goose egg” on the back of her head from striking the wall or a headboard while trying to jerk her head away from von Ehlinger's grip.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ukraine cracks down on 'traitors' helping Russian troops
Ukrainian authorities are cracking down on anyone suspected of aiding Russian troops under laws enacted by Ukraine’s parliament and signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after the Feb. 24 invasion
11:32AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Jury deliberations resume in rape trial of Idaho ex-lawmaker
Jurors in the rape trial of a former Idaho lawmaker have started a second day of deliberations after a trial in which the young accuser fled the witness stand during testimony, saying “I can’t do this.”
11:26AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Dry Southwest braces for stiffer winds, 'epic' fire danger
Thousands of firefighters have continued to slow the advance of destructive wildfires in the Southwest
11:12AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Inside the Trevor Reed deal: From Oval Office to Moscow trip
A series of factors helped pave the way for Trevor Reed's release from a Russian prison this week as part of a prisoner exchange
10:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ukraine slams Kyiv attack amid new Mariupol rescue effort
Ukraine’s leader has accused Russia of trying to humiliate the United Nations by raining missiles on Kyiv during a visit by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
10:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
Lawmaker: Sri Lanka president agrees to remove brother as PM
A prominent lawmaker says Sri Lanka’s president has agreed to replace his older brother as prime minister in a proposed interim government to solve a political impasse caused by the country’s economic crisis
9:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Jill Biden displays artwork by military kids in new exhibit
Jill Biden is showing off artwork by military kids in a new temporary exhibit at the White House
10:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
An Oval Office visit and a Moscow trip: Inside the Reed deal
A series of factors helped pave the way for Trevor Reed's release from a Russian prison this week as part of a prisoner exchange
5:41AM ( 5 hours ago )
Racial split on COVID-19 endures as restrictions ease in US
Black and Hispanic Americans remain far more cautious in their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic than white Americans
5:31AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he had “very substantive and warm talks” on energy and defense cooperation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov during his visit to Kyiv
7:27PM ( 16 hours ago )
Live updates | Rocket strike in southern Ukraine wounds boy
An 11-year-old Ukrainian boy was one of at least three people wounded in what emergency officials are calling the first Russian strike in a residential area of the southern city of Zaporizhzhia since Russia’s invasion began
5:58PM ( 17 hours ago )
Biden seeks $33B for Ukraine, signaling long-term commitment
President Joe Biden wants Congress to provide $33 billion to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia
5:52PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Dry Southwest braces for stiffer winds, 'epic' fire danger
Thousands of firefighters have continued to slow the advance of destructive wildfires in the Southwest
11:12AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Ukraine: Attack on Kyiv was Putin's 'middle finger' to UN
Ukraine’s leader has accused Russia of trying to humiliate the United Nations by raining missiles on Kyiv during a visit by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
11:11AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Becker gets 2 1/2 years in prison for bankruptcy offenses
Tennis great Boris Becker has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt
11:03AM ( 35 minutes ago )
War has shown Zelenskyy's true qualities to all, wife says
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, says the war with Russia has not changed her husband, but only revealed to the world his determination to prevail
10:53AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Pope warns of lost trust without more abuse accountability
Pope Francis has given a new mandate to his sex abuse advisory commission
10:51AM ( 47 minutes ago )