Anand Jon's Defense Begins - Sort Of

The prosecution rested its case in chief today against fashion designer Anand Jon, who is charged with multiple sexual assaults against nine girls and young women between 2001 and 2007. The end came not with a bang but with the whimper of DNA testimony, provided by Sheriff’s Department senior criminalist Learden Matthies. Matthies told jurors that semen traces on a tampon worn by alleged victim Jessie B matched Jon’s DNA. Defense attorney Leonard Levine got the criminalist to admit that such a match only suggested that a sexual encounter had occurred, not necessarily that it had been the result of rape.

Jon's defense had been expected to begin last Friday, but this trial's on-again, off-again pace has been an unintended nod to the meandering judicial system of Jon’s native India. That’s because Judge David Wesley is committed to so many other duties that proceedings usually don’t begin until 11 a.m. (to be followed by at least a 90-minute lunch recess) – if at all.

This week's proceedings began Wednesday, following a four-day weekend, and concluded at 4:15 p.m. They will not resume until next Monday. In between, defense lawyers were able to question deputy district attorney Liliana Gonzalez about her early interrogations of two alleged victims. Gonzalez played a cat and mouse game with attorney Eric Chase, with the DDA seeming to have forgotten much about her interviews with Eve M of Santa Barbara and Britny O of Arroyo Grande.

Gonzalez typically prefaced her tentative answers with such phrases as, “I guess I don’t understand your question” and “I do not have a personal recollection of that at this time.”

The day ended with defense attorney Donald Marks’ brief examination, followed by DDA Frances Young’s cross, of a San Luis Obispo cop and his interview with alleged underage victim Stacy F. All in all, a quiet beginning to a defense case that should begin in earnest next week, and which is expected to end by Oct. 24.


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