Fashion Designer Sentenced in Rape Case

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Los Angeles—Earlier this week, a fashion designer who had worked with Paris Hilton and the reality television show “America’s Next Top Model” was sentenced to 59 years to life in prison.

Anand Jon Alexander, 35, had been convicted in November on charges that he lured aspiring models to Los Angeles and then raped or fondled them in his apartment. Alexander was convicted on 14 counts, including forcible rape, but acquitted on four felony charges. On three other counts, jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

Alexander has maintained his innocence, saying that some of the women were lying about what he did to them, and others were seeking revenge against Alexander after being denied modeling jobs. He faces similar charges in New York and Texas.

Beverly Hills police launched an investigation of the designer in 2007, after a woman reported that he had sexually assaulted her in his apartment. In total, more than a dozen women spoke up with similar allegations, and prosecutors relied heavily on their testimony during the trial.

The women sat together, holding hands and crying as Superior Court Judge David Wesley said that Alexander should face years’ worth of incarceration for the crimes he had committed, and recounted some of those crimes.

Alexander had put forth two motions requesting a new trial after the court learned that one of the jurors in the case, Alvin Dymally, had contacted the defendant’s sister, Sanjana, in attempt to date her. Dymally had spoken to Sanjana twice by phone and given her a note in the courthouse cafeteria. Both were found in contempt of court, and Sanjana herself will appear at a hearing later this month. Wesley denied the motions for a new trial, saying that there was no proof that the telephone conversations had any impact on the verdict.

During one of the motions, however, Alexander called his mother, Shashi Abraham, to testify. During her time on the stand, Abraham said that Dymally had approached her during the trial to tell her that Alexander would be acquitted.

A number of issues are expected to be raised on appeal in this case.

Alexander has had a promising career in the fashion world, after graduating from the Parsons School of Design and launching his own line of clothing in 1999. Among his fans are celebrities including socialite Paris Hilton and R&B star Mary J. Blige. His work has been featured on the popular reality television show “America’s Next Top Model.”

 

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