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September 26, 2008 1:15 PM

Fashion, Media

L.A. Law

Anand JonScott Gries/Getty Images The rape and sexual assault trial of designer Anand Jon in Los Angeles offers a glimpse into the world of pseudo fame. A key part of the defense strategy rests on the argument that the...


Anand Jon
Scott Gries/Getty Images
The rape and sexual assault trial of designer Anand Jon in Los Angeles offers a glimpse into the world of pseudo fame.

A key part of the defense strategy rests on the argument that the nine alleged victims, aged 14 to 21, hoped to use Jon's status for their own gain and then turned on him when they didn't succeed.

Although Jon wasn't a pivotal figure in the fashion industry, some viewed him as a rising talent, even as others said his work was more flash and self-promotion than substance. Jon, 34, whose full name is Anand Jon Alexander, faces a maximum life term in prison if convicted of 25 charges of sexual misconduct, including rape and committing lewd acts on a child. The prosecution has described him as a "serial rapist," who used fashion as a guise to lure would-be models to his Beverly Hills apartment between 2001 and 2007, where he allegedly carried out the attacks and then kept a "brag list" chronicling the details.

But Jon's lawyer, Leonard Levine, has argued that his client is a victim of false accusations who is being unfairly prosecuted. Some of the women didn't have sex with the defendant or, if they did, it was consensual, Levine said, adding some of the alleged victims stayed in touch with Jon -- and even lived in his apartment -- after prosecutors contend they were attacked.

More than half the 59 counts in the indictment have been dismissed, and Levine said that shows the flimsiness of the case.

The trial in Superior Court, which got underway on Sept. 12, has had its share of twists.

Sanjana Jon, the designer's sister, took the witness stand Wednesday to respond to complaints by prosecution witnesses to Judge David Wesley that she made intimidating gestures toward them outside the courtroom. She denied the accusations.

And Donald Trump's ex-wife, Marla Maples, a friend of Jon's, has been a frequent visitor at the courthouse. She is scheduled to testify for the defense.

Cross-examination of the accusers has been tough. It's not clear if Levine will call Jon to testify in his own defense and give prosecutors an opportunity to question him.
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