Nov 4, 2008
Jury begins deliberations in rape trial of Indian-born designer
Nov 4, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Nov 3, 2008 (AFP) - Jurors began deliberations Monday, October 3rd in the rape trial of celebrated Indian-born fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander, who faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Anand Jon Alexander - Photo : www.anandjon.com
The 34-year old designer is accused of having sexually abused numerous girls and young women between the ages of 14 to 21 between 2002-2007.
Arrested on March 6, 2007, Alexander faces 27 separate felony counts, including including forcible rape, sexual battery by restraint and lewd acts upon a child. Nine of the alleged victims testified during trial.
Prosecutors said Alexander set up a fashion design studio in Beverly Hills to lure models and sexually assault them.
"These girls trusted the man seated at that table," said the prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Frances Young.
"And he took advantage of them. He humiliated, degraded and took what he wanted from them. He was a predator who took advantage of the weak people around him.
"He has no criminal sexual borders. If he didn't use force, he laced their drinks," Young told the jury of six men and six women.
But Alexander's lawyers said the charges against him were brought by models he had turned down for jobs after having consensual sexual relations with them. Defense attorney Leonard Levine told the jury that, in short, his client was set up.
"If the girls said it, it must be so -- that's what they want you to believe," Levine said. "Every bit of circumstantial evidence in this case points to one thing -- it didn't happen."
Alexander reported to have dressed celebrities such as Hilton hotel heiresses Paris and Nicky Hilton, Mary J. Blige and Norah Jones.
According to Alexander's website, he is the winner of various fashion awards including a 2002 People's Choice "Best New Designer" prize.
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