Lawyers present closing arguments, jurors to deliberate in rape trial of Naval Academy midshipman – Capital Gazette
Lawyers presented their closing arguments on Tuesday afternoon after the week-long trial of a 21-year-old Naval Academy midshipman accused of sexually assaulting a fellow midshipman at an off-campus party last year.
Jurors will begin deliberating Wednesday morning on whether to convict Garrett Lee Holsen, a second-class midshipman, of second-degree rape and other charges in the May 2021 case at a party in Annapolis following the ascent of the Herndon monument.
Holsen, 21, was charged with second-degree rape, second-degree assault, as well as third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses, stemming from the encounter at an Airbnb on Colonial Avenue. On Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to drop a fourth-degree sex offense charge as attorneys grapple with various procedural issues.
Last week, the woman testified that she was very drunk when Holsen began having sex with her at the party during commissioning week. She testified that the meeting was not consensual.
Other seekers who were at the party testified that the woman was vomiting in the bathroom and that her friends found Holsen in the bathroom with her when they came back there to bring her food and the water.
Holsen spoke Tuesday morning and gave jurors a different account of what happened that night. He said the meeting was entirely consensual and that he and the woman had developed a close friendship during their year as a pleb, while he was still in a long-term relationship.
“Under different circumstances, I think we would have been together,” Holsen said.
He said he had no indication that she was drunk at the party that night, and that he sat across from her in the bathroom and talked to her before she don’t lean in for a kiss. He said he asked to have sex, and she agreed, adding that he left after fellow wannabes opened the door and told him to get out.
In her closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Courtney Scalice recalled the woman’s testimony earlier in the trial, when she said she was not interested in Holsen and began dating. another aspirant a few days after the encounter.
Defense attorney Peter O’Neill argued that the woman was not as drunk that night as she and her friends testified. He accused them of changing their narrative to convict Holsen in a case with little physical evidence.
O’Neill questioned the integrity of Holsen’s accuser, citing an honor code violation she received for plagiarism. He then attempted to support Holsen’s testimony by recalling several character witnesses who said they knew Holsen was “peaceful” and respectful of women.
“This case is about truth. It’s about character. It’s about the quality of the human being that we have here in front of us,” he said.
Scalice asked why the several seekers who were called as witnesses last week would lie about how much alcohol the woman drank that night.
“What was their motive? ” she says. “There were none.”
Jurors will begin deliberating at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Robert J. Thompson said at the end of Tuesday’s lengthy arguments.