Brock Turner's attorney argued that his client was clothed when he was found sexually assaulting the unconscious victim behind a dumpster

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 25, 2018 01:50 PM
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During an appeals hearing Tuesday, the attorney for Brock Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, claims his client was fully clothed during the 2015 attack and only engaged in what the lawyer called “sexual outercourse.”

Eric S. Multhaup went before a panel of judges and defined “outercourse” as sexual activity while clothed that can be considered a form of safe sex, claiming that Turner, 22, didn’t intend to rape the victim, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and NBC News.

The Associated Press reports that the judges appeared skeptical of the claim.

“I absolutely don’t understand what you are talking about,” Justice Franklin D. Elia said. Elia added that the law “requires the jury verdict to be honored.”

In March 2016, Turner was found guilty of three felonies for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside an on-campus fraternity party in January 2015.

Turner was discovered on top of the unconscious victim behind a dumpster by two graduate students from Sweden. When he ran away, the pair chased him down and detained him until police arrived.

During the trial, Turner admitted to having sexual contact with the woman but claimed it was consensual.

The case garnered national attention, and sparked outrage, when Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in county jail — after prosecutors asked for six years — holding that a lengthy sentence would have a “severe impact” on him. Three months after Turner began his sentence, he was released from jail.

brock-turner
Brock Turner
| Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

During the hearing Tuesday, Multhaup discussed the victim’s alcohol consumption the night of the attack. He also claimed that the jury used their “imagination” during deliberation and had “filled in the blanks” about what happened, Palo Alto Weekly reports.

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In response to Multhaup’s claims, Assistant Attorney General Alisha Carlile argued Multhaup was presenting a “farfetched version of events” of what actually took place that night.

She said there was “ample” evidence for Turner’s conviction, citing his attempt to the flee the scene, his decision to take the victim to a secluded location and that, when interrupted by the Swedish men who chased him down, he didn’t deny he was planning to rape the unconscious woman, the Chronicle reports.

The panel has 90 days to decide on their ruling, according to the Associated Press.

Following Turner’s conviction, the victim, who has remained anonymous, shared a powerful letter to her attacker.

“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she wrote. “I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak louder.”

Turner was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman; sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

He will remain a register sex offender for the rest of his life because of the rape charge, the Chronicle reports.

Multhaup could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In June, Santa Clara voters recalled Persky from his seat on the Superior Court. It was the first time in 80 years that a California judge had been recalled, Palo Alto Weekly reports.