4TH SEX CRIMES TRIAL BEGINS FOR FORMER VT. STATE SENATOR
October 23, 2019
ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) The state has rested its case in the trial for a former Vermont state senator accused of setting up a tenant to have sex with an acquaintance to pay her electric bill.
Norm McAllister is facing a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts.
In opening arguments today, the state played a portion of a recorded telephone call the alleged victim made to McAllister during the police investigation, where the state says McAllister acknowledges that the prostitution occurred.
We also heard from the woman accusing McAllister when she took the stand this morning, describing what she says happened after McAllister told her she could pay back her electric bill by having sex with one of his friends.
WCAX News does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
Alleged victim: He was asking that I be intimate with the man.
Question: And what did you take that to mean?
Alleged victim: That I would be expected to uh, have sex with him.
Question: I'm sorry?
Alleged victim: That I would be expected to have sex with him.
Question: And in return for having sex with this person, what would happen?
Alleged victim: That would pay back the money that he paid on my behalf for the light bill.
During their opening arguments and in cross-examination, the defense probed into the details of some of the abusive relationships she was in at the time to question her credibility, because they say she has a history of lying under oath and to police.
We also began to hear testimony from the state police detective on the case.
Our Cat Viglienzoni is at court and will be there all afternoon. She will have an update for you on what happened tonight starting on the Channel 3 News at 5 p.m.
The is the fourth sex crimes trial for the former Vermont senator. This latest trial comes after dropped charges, a jury acquittal, a conviction overturned by the Vermont Supreme Court and a mistrial.
McAllister's legal saga started in 2015 when the sitting senator was arrested at the Statehouse. He pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting three women. One died shortly after.
The second case was dropped after the accuser struggled on the stand at trial.
McAllister at first took a plea deal in the third case but later decided to go to trial instead. At that trial in 2017, prosecutors said McAllister sexually assaulted his farmhand and tenant, and claimed McAllister admitted to it in a recording. But McAllister said their sex was consensual and a jury believed him, finding him not guilty of sexual assault. He was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts for allegedly setting up his tenant to have sex with an acquaintance.
But McAllister appealed that conviction and last year, the state Supreme Court ruled the lower court admitted evidence it shouldn't have. The justices ordered a third trial, which then ended in a mistrial in April.
McAllister has maintained his innocence throughout.
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