Boise, Idaho (Associated Press) – A former Idaho legislator was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern after a dramatic trial in which the young woman ran from a witness stand while testifying, saying “I can’t do that.”
The intern told a supervisor at the State House that Aaron von Illinger raped her in his apartment after the two had dinner at the Boys’ Restaurant in March 2021. He said the sex was consensual.
At the time, von Ellinger was a state representative from Lewiston, but later resigned.
Von Illinger, 39, was convicted on Friday of rape. Has proven innocence of penetration something strange.
Next, Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Reardon told the jury, “This has been an unusual case that has seen many unexpected circumstances, but I appreciate your concern…and your hard work.”
Sentencing has been set for July 28.
Von Illinger sat quietly while reading the verdict, as he had done throughout the trial. Von Ehlinger spoke calmly with his attorney, who removed the items from Von Ehlinger’s pockets where he had been handcuffed and placed in custody.
The Associated Press does not generally 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 hesitantly described the moments when the alleged assault began, before suddenly leaving the witness stand.
“He tried to get his fingers between my legs and my knees closed,” Doe said.
At that time, I stood up.
“I can’t do this,” she said as she quickly walked out of the courtroom.
The judge gave prosecutors 10 minutes to find her to determine if she would return and resume her testimony.
When she didn’t, the judge told the jurors they should “cross (Doo’s testimony) from your minds as if that never happened,” because the defense couldn’t cross-examine her.
During his testimony on Thursday, von Illinger often spoke loudly and clearly directly to the jury, saying that he and Doe had decided to go back to his apartment to “hang out” after dining at a fancy restaurant from Boise. Then they started sitting on the sofa, he said.
“Things were going well,” said von Illinger, “and I asked (Doe) if she’d like to move into the bedroom.” “Sure,” she said. “We got up, clasped our hands, and went into the bedroom.”
The deliberations lasted seven hours until about 8 p.m. Thursday before the jury decided to rest for the night. At one point, the judge summoned the attorneys to his room because the jury had asked a question. No details of the jury’s investigation have been made public.
When the allegations became public – in large part due to a legislative ethics investigation – Du . faced Relentless harassment Some of von Illinger’s supporters. Her name, photo, and personal life details have been publicized time and time again in “doxxing” incidents. One of the people who repeatedly harassed her was in the courtroom to attend the trial, but law enforcement authorities prevented the man from going up to the floor where the case is being heard.
During closing arguments, Ada County Deputy District Attorney Catelyn Farley told jurors that the case was about “power in the wrong hands” used in Doe’s “great devastation.” Farley said von Illinger wielded social, political, and physical power over the young apprentice.
“He used this force to rape and forcibly penetrate her,” Farley said, referring to von Illinger. Doe resisted in a number of ways, she said, highlighting the testimony of law enforcement investigators and the sexual assault nurse who interrogated Doe after the alleged assault.
“Words show disapproval. Excuses ‘why shouldn’t this happen,’ show disapproval. Pulling your head back and hitting shows disapproval,” Farley said.
But John Cox, von Illinger’s defense attorney, told jurors that the prosecution’s case consisted of a “red herring,” and said von Illinger was a credible person who took the stand willingly to share his side of the story.
Earlier this week, jurors heard from investigators and a nurse who had given a rape test. They testified that Doe reported her suspension while von Illinger forced her to perform oral sex, and that she knew he often carried a gun and placed it on a wardrobe near the bed at the time of the assault. A nurse also testified that Doe was carrying a “goose egg” to the back of her head as a result of it hitting a wall or headboard while trying to keep her head out of Von Illinger’s grasp.