The sexual assault trial involving former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner continued this week, with Turner himself testifying and saying the woman accusing him of the assault was conscious and consented to sexual contact.
The Contra Costa Times reports that Turner took the witness stand on Wednesday, recounting his side of the January 2015 incident.
The 20-year-old Turner said the woman, then 22, danced with him and kissed him at the fraternity party near where the incident took place. Based on the woman’s testimony earlier this week, she was at the party with her younger sister and some friends. One friend testified earlier this week as well, noting that she and the sister left the party while the alleged victim stayed behind.
Turner said that he asked the woman if she would like to return to his dorm with him, and that she said “yes.” The two were walking outside, Turner said, when she slipped and fell, then started kissing on the ground.
Turner says he started to feel sick from the drinks he’d consumed – seven beers and two sips of whiskey – and stumbled away from the girl to vomit. That was when cyclist Peter Jonsson arrived. Jonsson had already testified that he and another cyclist came across Turner and the woman and confronted Turner upon seeing that the girl was unconscious.
The Contra Costa Times piece describes the scene this way, per Turner’s testimony:
Turner told the jury of four women and eight men that he didn’t understand their concern. But when one of the men tried to put him in a headlock to subdue him, “that made me really scared.”
“I decided to run,” Turner said, but one of the men tackled him. “I started screaming for help.”
Turner said he recalled the man asking, “Do you think this is OK?”
“I had no idea what he was talking about,” Turner testified. “It just seemed like he hated me or something.”
Turner said the woman was awake and conscious the whole time, and when his lawyer asked him if he intended to rape her, he replied: “Absolutely not.”
The woman’s attorney responded, calling attention to the woman’s high blood alcohol content at the time (more than three times the legal limit) and an incoherent voicemail message she had left on her boyfriend’s phone shortly before the incident happened at 1 a.m.
The Daily Democrat reported on a different witness, a psychology professor at the University of Texas named Kim Fromme, who supported Turner’s case but whose credibility was also called into question by the prosecution.
Fromme testified that a drunk person can appear normal while experiencing a blackout, or a period in which “the person is fully conscious and capable of making short-term decisions such as driving a car or having sex… but incapable of storing long-term memories.” That testimony came after the woman had no memories of the incident itself, only the party before it and the morning after.
But the prosecution brought up several emails Fromme had sent to Turner’s lawyer. Per The Daily Democrat:
Fromme described herself as an unbiased expert. But Kiancerci introduced several emails Fromme had written to Armstrong that caused some of the four women and eight men on the jury to stop taking notes and lean back. One of the emails exulted in the acquittal of a Seattle man who had confessed to rape and expressed hope for a similar outcome for “our client.” Another wondered if it was a good idea to turn over communications between herself and Armstrong, which is required under California discovery laws. Doing so, the email said, would be “akin to showing our entire poker hand prior to making a bet.”
The trial continues this week, with closing arguments anticipated next Monday, according to The Contra Costa Times.