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Sex-crimes lawyer Accused of Raping a Colleague

from www.sfgate.com – A Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor accused of raping a colleague while wielding a gun and an ice pick has been fired, his attorneys said Monday.

Michael Gressett, 52, who says he and his 30-year-old accuser had kinky but consensual sex at his home in May 2008, was terminated last week by District Attorney Robert Kochly. He had been on paid leave since his arrest in October.

Gressett has also been accused of making inappropriate sexual comments at work and of having a small amount of marijuana that police found after raiding his home, said his employment attorney, Alison Berry Wilkinson.

Kochly said he could not comment on a personnel matter. Wilkinson said she appealed the firing, sending the case to arbitration.

“I think they should have waited, because there are so many problems with the underlying evidence” of the rape, Wilkinson said.

Word of Gressett’s firing came as his criminal lawyers promised to turn a preliminary hearing scheduled to begin Aug. 17 into a mini trial by calling at least 30 witnesses – including the alleged victim.

“Now it’s our turn to go after the truth,” said Daniel Russo, one of Gressett’s attorneys, outside court.

But state prosecutors, who filed 12 felony counts against Gressett, called the move an attempt to thwart a law that allows prosecutors to introduce hearsay evidence at preliminary hearings, such as an alleged victim’s statements to police.

“They can’t put Jane Doe on the stand just because they want to,” prosecutor Peter Flores Jr. said.

The debate, which must be settled by Judge Carlos Ynostroza, broke out in a Martinez courtroom after the judge rejected Gressett’s effort to disqualify the state attorney general, who is prosecuting the case.

Gressett’s accuser – who now works for another county – told police she wanted to sleep with him on May 8, 2008, but objected to the type of sex he initiated. She said he forcibly sodomized her, held a gun to her head, handcuffed her and forced ice into her.

Gressett said a gun, cuffs and ice were brought out but only in a playful way. His attorneys said his accuser has a history of trouble and has shifted her account of the alleged rape. The Chronicle is not naming her because she is an alleged rape victim.

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