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Former lawmaker convicted of rape requests acquittal or new trial, release on his own recognizance

May 19, 2022 Updated Thu., May 19, 2022 at 7:42 p.m.

Former Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger testifies on his own behalf during Day 3 of his rape trial at the Ada County Courthouse, on April 28 in Boise.  (Associated Press)
Former Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger testifies on his own behalf during Day 3 of his rape trial at the Ada County Courthouse, on April 28 in Boise. (Associated Press)
By Alexandra Duggan Idaho Press

BOISE — Former lawmaker Aaron von Ehlinger, who was convicted of rape, has requested a new trial, court documents say, on the basis of insufficient evidence. He has also asked to be released on his own recognizance pending further proceedings in the matter.

Von Ehlinger was convicted of raping a 19-year-old Statehouse intern on April 29 after a 12-person jury found him guilty on a felony count of rape, and not guilty on a felony count of forcible penetration with a foreign object.

Von Ehlinger and his attorney Jon Cox are seeking an acquittal, or a new trial, as they say there was insufficient evidence to convict the former lawmaker.

“The defendant anticipates the motion will assert the evidences as insufficient to sustain a conviction, that there was error with respect to questions of law on both statutory and constitutional grounds that arose during the course of the trial, and that the verdict was contrary to the law or evidence,” the motion says.

The motion, filed May 13, also says the defense anticipates presentation of new evidence during a hearing for a new trial, which is set for June 13.

The defense filed a separate motion for von Ehlinger to be released pending the new proceedings with a set bond, in which they cite that he has “lived in Idaho for most of his life,” has family in Idaho, does not own any real property, and “relies on military disability income and social security income.”

The motion adds that von Ehlinger does not have additional criminal history; however, prior to changing his name in 2017, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as reckless driving and carrying a concealed weapon under the influence.

During his four-day jury trial, the jury heard testimony from nurses, police officers and employees within the Statehouse, where the survivor, Jane Doe, worked.

The former representative, who was 38 at the time of the rape, allegedly penetrated Doe with his finger as well as pinned her arms down with his knees while he forced her to perform oral sex, and then stimulated himself over her, according to testifying witnesses.

Two days later, Doe reported the assault to a Statehouse worker, who called the police. Doe was taken to receive a medical exam, and a sexual assault kit was collected.

Doe was called to the stand during the trial, but her testimony was abruptly cut short — “I can’t do this,” she said, and ran out of the courthouse. She never returned, and the court was ordered to strike her testimony.

Von Ehlinger testified on the stand that all the acts were consensual, and the two were having a “passionate” time together.

Von Ehlinger’s sentencing date is set for July 28.

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