- Associated Press - Monday, February 8, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - In a story Feb. 5 about the upcoming sex-assault trial of suspended Vermont state Sen. Norman McAllister, The Associated Press reported erroneously on who had given rides home to one of the alleged victims. Defense attorney Brooks McArthur said one of the potential witnesses had given the rides, not that McArthur had done so.

A corrected version of the story is below:

McAllister trial pushed to May, likely after session ends

The trial on sex charges of suspended state Sen. Norman McAllister has been moved from this month to May

By DAVE GRAM

Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The trial on sex charges of suspended state Sen. Norman McAllister has been moved from this month to May, lawyers said Friday, lessening the likelihood that lawmakers would be called away from their duties to testify as witnesses.

Defense lawyer Brooks McArthur and Franklin County State’s Attorney James Hughes both said they still need to collect sworn statements from potential witnesses, including at least three news reporters who have covered the case.

Several lawmakers are potential witnesses, including two who had shared a rented house with McAllister, a Franklin County Republican, in Montpelier during the 2015 session. McArthur said another potential witness had given one of the alleged victims rides home to Franklin County from the capital, where she worked as an assistant or intern to McAllister at the Statehouse.

The 2015-2016 legislative session is expected to conclude by the first week of May, meaning there likely will not be an overlap between the session and the trial.

McArthur said there had been no discussion among lawyers in the case about trying to avoid interference with the legislative session. “If it works out that it’s more convenient, that’s just a coincidence,” he said. “Our preference was to try it as quickly as possible.”

McArthur on Friday gave his fullest account of the defense version of the case yet, saying McAllister, 64, didn’t force sex on anyone. He said one of the complaining witnesses had been living on his farm in Highgate for free and went to the police after he began demanding rent.

“He said ‘I’m going to have to evict you,’” for nonpayment of rent, McArthur said. “And the next thing you know, the police were called.”

Another complaining witness made repeated trips to Montpelier to work with McAllister at the Statehouse and stay at the house he shared with Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, and Rep. Timothy Corcoran, D-Bennington. They have both said they did not witness or hear any indications of inappropriate behavior between McAllister and the young women, McArthur said.

Hughes said Friday he could not comment on the specifics of the case.

McAllister was arrested May 7 outside the Statehouse and arraigned the next day on three counts of felony sexual assault and three counts of misdemeanor prohibited acts. Senators voted to suspend him Jan. 6.

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