ST. ALBANS, VT – A jury in St. Albans on Wednesday found former state Sen. Norm McAllister not guilty of allegedly setting up his tenant to have sex with an acquaintance in order to pay her electric bill.
McAllister’s attorney Robert Katims, said the alleged victim’s credibility was a key issue with the jury during the one-day trial.
“I think it really came down to, in the end, her testimony and her
testimony alone,” Katims said. “And I think it was very clear that she wasn’t truthful witness she hadn’t been in the past. She admitted she hadn’t been.”
Prosecutor John Lavoie maintained the alleged victim had no motivation to make up her account. At the trial, jurors heard a recording of a phone call between McAllister and the alleged victim that Lavoie argued revealed McAllister admitting to the crime.
“If this was a lie, she didn’t need to stick to it – she had plenty of
chances to get out,” he said.
McAllister was convicted in July 2017 of prohibited acts, a misdemeanor, and acquitted of one count of sexual assault, a felony. He appealed and the Vermont Supreme Court granted him a new trial.
“In the first trial if the judge had answered the question correctly
from the jury then he would have been acquitted for everything the first time,” Katims said. “That was error and the Supreme Court found it to be error. We came back here and the last jury was going to acquit and there was jury misconduct. Then this jury acquitted in less than an hour.”
Charges were dismissed against McAllister in a sexual assault trial
involving a different accuser who lied. Another trial was declared a mistrial in April after one juror admitted seeing a news report about the case.
McAllister was suspended from the state Senate and later lost a re-election
bid in the 2016 primary. He said Wednesday that he is relieved the trial is over. “It’s been a nightmare the past four years,” he said.