Seduction or Rape?

Day 2 of Anand Jon Trial's Closing Arguments

Prosecutor Mara McIlvain delivered the D.A.’s closing argument Wednesday, followed by the first of three Anand Jon lawyers with the defense’s side, presented by Donald Marks. Marks had only begun his comments when court adjourned yesterday, and picked up where he left off Thursday afternoon. The photogenic McIlvain appeared somewhat ill at ease as she ticked off the particulars of each of the case’s nine alleged sexual assault victims, never straying far from the laptop that held her PowerPoint notes. The white-haired Marks, however, appeared to have stepped out of an old Reginald Rose courtroom drama.

Frequently leaning forward on the podium and punctuating his argument by removing and replacing his glasses, raising his voice with righteous indignation whenever recalling on an inconsistency in testimony, Marks’ performance was that of a seasoned Method actor.

“What is really the Big Picture?” he asked, a mocking reference to testimony by noted rape-trauma expert Ann Burgess, who had explained for prosecutors the seemingly paradoxical behavior of rape victims by placing that behavior and concomitant actions in the context of a larger emotional frame.

“This is no shrinking violet!” Marks said of Indiana resident Nicole G, who, it was shown during testimony, had sent fashion designer Jon extremely forward emails, complete with nude and semi-nude photographs of herself. “She comes out here because she’s on the hunt.”

Marks was followed by Tony Brooklier, who moved about the court as though the jury box were the front row of the Comedy Store. While he cracked up the courtroom (including, at times, Judge David Wesley) with numerous zingers, Brooklier raised the central question of the defense’s case: Were Jon’s sexual advances upon the nine young women in question really acts of seduction that had become rape in the minds of prosecutors?

“Anand Jon may not be the most pleasant person in the world,” Brooklier conceded. “Maybe he’s not a nice guy. But that’s not a crime.”


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