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BOISE, Idaho — A former Idaho lawmaker was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern after a dramatic trial during which the younger girl fled the witness stand throughout testimony, saying “I can’t do this.”
The intern advised a Statehouse supervisor that Aaron von Ehlinger raped her at his house after the 2 had dinner at a Boise restaurant in March 2021. Von Ehlinger stated the intercourse was consensual.
On the time, the Lewiston Republican was serving as a state consultant, however he later resigned.
Von Ehlinger, 39, was discovered responsible Friday of rape. He was discovered not responsible of sexual penetration with a international object.
Von Ehlinger sat calmly as the decision was learn, as he has all through the trial.
Afterward, 4th District Decide Michael Reardon advised the jury: “This has been an unusual case attended by many unexpected circumstances, but I appreciate your attention … and hard work.”
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A felony rape conviction carries a minimal sentence of 1 yr in jail in Idaho. The utmost penalty could be as excessive as life in jail, on the decide’s discretion. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 28.
As von Ehlinger was remanded into custody and handcuffed, he talked quietly together with his lawyer who eliminated objects from von Ehlinger’s pockets.
The prosecution remained stoic as they left the courtroom, however as soon as they reached a decrease flooring they stopped to briefly to congratulate one another on the decision.
Von Ehlinger’s lawyer, Jon Cox, couldn’t be instantly reached for remark after the trial.
The Related Press typically doesn’t determine individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted, and has referred to the girl on this case as “Jane Doe” at her request.
In a press convention, Ada County Prosecuting Legal professional Jan Bennetts thanked the jury, investigators and the prosecutors who dealt with the case.
“Last but not least, it took an incredible amount of courage for the victim in this case, Jane Doe, to come forward,” Bennetts stated. “I want to acknowledge the courage that she took in coming forward.”
Doe testified on the second day of the trial. She haltingly described the moments the alleged assault started, earlier than abruptly leaving the witness stand.
“He tried to put his fingers between my legs and I closed my knees,” Doe stated.
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At that, she stood up.
“I can’t do this,” she stated, shortly strolling out of the courtroom.
The decide gave the prosecuting attorneys 10 minutes to search out her to find out if she would return and resume her testimony.
When she didn’t, the decide advised the jurors they needed to “strike (Doe’s testimony) from your minds as if it never happened,” as a result of the protection couldn’t cross-examine her.
In the course of the press convention, Deputy Prosecuting Legal professional Katelyn Farley stated the second Doe left the trial was “heart-wrenching,” however stated she and deputy prosecutor Whitney Welsh had ready for trial understanding that Doe might not be capable of testify.
“I think it’s important that she decided to walk in the room, and she also decided to walk out — those were her choices,” Welsh stated.
Throughout his testimony Thursday, von Ehlinger usually spoke in a transparent, loud voice on to jurors, saying he and Doe determined to return to his house to “hang out” after consuming at a elaborate Boise restaurant. Then they started making out on the sofa, he stated.
“Things were going well, and I asked (Doe) if she would like to move to the bedroom,” von Ehlinger stated. “She said ‘Sure.’ We got up, held hands and walked into the bedroom.”
Deliberations stretched for seven hours till almost 8 p.m. Thursday earlier than the jury determined to interrupt for the night. At one level, the decide summoned the attorneys to his chambers as a result of the jury requested a query. No particulars have been made public concerning the jury’s inquiry.
When the allegations grew to become public — largely due to the legislative ethics investigation — Doe confronted unrelenting harassment from a few of von Ehlinger’s supporters. Her title, picture and private particulars about her life have been repeatedly publicized in “doxxing” incidents. One of many individuals who steadily harassed her was within the courthouse to attend the trial, however regulation enforcement banned the person from the ground the place the case was being heard.
Throughout closing arguments, Farley advised jurors that the case was about “power in the wrong hands” used to the “great devastation” of Doe. Von Ehlinger had social, political and bodily energy over the petite intern, Farley stated.
“He used that power to rape and forcibly penetrate her,” Farley stated, pointing at von Ehlinger. Doe resisted in a number of methods, she stated, highlighting the testimony of regulation 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 stated.
However von Ehlinger’s lawyer advised jurors the prosecution’s case was made up of “red herrings,” and stated von Ehlinger was a reputable one that willingly took the stand to share his facet of the story.
The investigators and the nurse who carried out the sexual assault examination testified earlier this week. They stated Doe reported being pinned down whereas von Ehlinger pressured her to carry out oral intercourse, and that she knew he steadily carried a handgun and had positioned it on a dresser close to the mattress on the time of the assault. The nurse additionally testified that Doe had a “goose egg” on the again of her head from placing the wall or a headboard whereas making an attempt to jerk her head away from von Ehlinger’s grip.