- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Saudi Arabian air force sergeant got new lawyers Wednesday and a new court date at which he’ll be sentenced to Nevada state prison for raping a 13-year-old California boy at a Las Vegas Strip hotel.

Mazen Alotaibi said nothing while Clark County District Court Judge Stefany Miley told prosecutors and his lawyers she was willing to postpone sentencing because he’ll face a mandatory minimum of 35 years in state prison.

“With the nature of the charges, he’s not eligible for probation,” the judge said. “He’s not going anywhere.”

The judge reset sentencing for March 31 and allowed Alotaibi’s trial attorney, Don Chairez, to withdraw and turn the case over to prominent Las Vegas defense and constitutional law attorneys Dominic Gentile and Vincent Savarese III.

Savarese told the judge that he and Gentile wanted time to review the trial record before Alotaibi’s sentencing.

Alotaibi returned in custody to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.

“We believe there may be some substantial issues on appeal,” Savarese said outside court. He declined to specify those issues until he receives and reads the trial transcript.

Alotaibi, 24, came to the U.S. for military training, and he remains a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Chairez said the Saudi government has been paying for his defense since his arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012 at the Circus Circus hotel.

The boy testified during Alotaibi’s trial in October that he was in a hotel hallway when he approached Alotaibi and other men early Dec. 31, 2012, because he smelled marijuana on their clothes and he wanted pot.

The Associated Press is withholding the boy’s name because of his age and the nature of the case.

The jury heard that the boy accompanied Alotaibi to a sixth-floor room where other men lounged and smoked, but he was shooed away when the men learned he was 13.

The boy testified that Alotaibi followed him out of the room, smoked marijuana with him outside the hotel, and returned with him to the hotel room bathroom. He said Alotaibi blocked the bathroom door, offered him $150 and then doubled the amount, and forced him into oral and anal sex.

Nevada state law says a child under 16 can’t consent to sex. But Chairez told the jury that Alotaibi was too intoxicated after drinking all night at a strip club to know if he was doing anything wrong.

A jury of nine women and three men found Alotaibi guilty of six felonies including kidnapping, sexual assault for the sex acts, and lewdness with a child for fondling and kissing the boy on the way to the room.

The jury also found Alotaibi guilty of misdemeanor coercion. He was acquitted on two felony lewdness charges.

Chairez later called it a mistake not to have Alotaibi testify. He said he believed the boy enticed Alotaibi, hoping to receive marijuana and money, but the jurors were left believing the boy was forced to have sex.

Prosecutors said the sex wasn’t consensual and Alotaibi wasn’t drunk. Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth told the jury that Alotaibi wanted sex and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Alotaibi rejected a plea deal before trial that could have gotten him probation or up to 80 years in prison for pleading guilty to two charges each of felony attempted sexual assault and attempted lewdness.


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