General Crime

* Martinez, Alleged Victim To Testify In Preliminary Hearing For Deputy DA Michael Gressett Accused Of Rape

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A judge in Martinez ruled today that defense attorneys would be allowed to call the alleged victim to testify in the preliminary hearing for a former Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor accused of raping her in 2008.Michael Gressett, 52, has been charged with 12 felonies for allegedly raping and sodomizing a fellow deputy district attorney during a lunch break at his home in Martinez on May 8, 2008.Prosecutors have alleged that Gressett used a gun, handcuffs and an ice pick during the assault and threatened to kill the victim, who is referred to in court as “Jane Doe”.Gressett has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his attorneys, Daniel Russo and Michael Cardoza, have said they have no doubt that he will be found innocent.Gressett was arrested six months after the alleged rape. He was placed on administrative leave after his arrest on Oct. 2, 2008, and then fired from the district attorney’s office on July 24. During a hearing in Judge Carlos Ynostroza’s courtroom today, Deputy Attorney General Peter Flores argued that the defense should not be allowed to call Jane Doe to testify during the preliminary hearing under the Crime Victims Justice Reform Act, which voters passed in 1990 to protect crime victims from having to testify multiple times during court proceedings.The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a case to proceed to trial. In most cases, police testify on behalf of victims during the preliminary hearing and victims are called to testify only if the case goes to trial.Russo, however, argued that he had a right to present a defense during the preliminary hearing, which was scheduled to begin this morning but has been postponed until November. According to Russo, Jane Doe gave three different accounts of the alleged rape during interviews with investigators.Russo also said that Gressett and Jane Doe had a consensual sexual relationship before the alleged rape took place and exchanged text messages before and after the incident.He said their defense would be that the victim consented to the sexual encounter and that Gressett made a “reasonable mistake of fact” during the encounter.Flores said he doesn’t dispute that Gressett and Jane Doe had a prior consensual relationship and that the alleged rape itself started out as a consensual encounter, but said police investigators who interviewed Jane Doe could testify to those facts. He also said police could address any discrepancies in Jane Doe’s accounts of the alleged rape and argued that it wasn’t necessary to bring her in to testify.Flores claimed that the defense wanted to force Jane Doe to testify because they want “to get a hearing is scheduled to resume in November in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

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