Court sets new trial date for Albert Wilson’s rape case; DA says a plea deal has been offered in the meantime
photo by: Sara Shepherd/Journal-World File Photo
The Douglas County District Court set a new trial date for Albert Wilson, who was previously convicted of a rape in 2019 but was later granted a new trial.
The second trial is now set to begin on Feb. 28, 2022. However, it’s possible the case never reaches that point.
District Attorney Suzanne Valdez previously said that her office would work with Wilson’s new attorneys to find a resolution to the case that would avoid a trial. She said on Thursday that her office has offered a plea deal to Wilson to do that, but Wilson and his attorneys have until Sept. 1 to accept it.
A plea agreement generally calls for a defendant to enter a plea of guilty or no contest to fewer or lesser charges. An agreement also often includes the defendant and the prosecutors agreeing on a suggested sentence for the judge to consider. The details of the offered plea deal were not discussed in court on Thursday.
Josh Dubin, one of Wilson’s attorneys, said he was confident that a resolution would be agreed to before the DA’s Sept. 1 deadline.
A jury in January 2019 convicted Wilson, now 25, of one count of rape in connection with a Sept. 11, 2016, incident. Wilson was sentenced to serve a 12.5-year sentence.
As the Journal-World has reported, the alleged victim in the case, a girl who was 17 at the time, met Wilson at The Hawk, a popular bar near the University of Kansas campus. She testified that she was drunk and that Wilson, then a 20-year-old KU student, lifted her skirt and assaulted her at the bar and then walked her to his house a couple of blocks away, raped her, then walked her back to the bar.
Wilson was convicted of rape for the incident at the house, but the jury hung on the incident at the bar.
On appeal, Wilson was represented by two attorneys, Michael Whalen and Dubin. In their arguments, Dubin and Whalen said the case came down to the girl’s credibility. That was key in a number of specific points they made, but one particular focus was on data from the girl’s phone. If Wilson’s appointed attorney, Forrest Lowry, had realized he had certain additional evidence, including text messages and photos from the girl’s phone, he could have more effectively cross-examined her and others who testified, they wrote.
Judge Sally Pokorny agreed, saying questions could have been raised based on thousands of text messages, which had not been used as evidence in the trial, to influence the jury’s decision. She then ordered a new trial for Wilson.
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