Defense Alleges Bodenweiser's Accuser Was "Coached" - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Defense Alleges Bodenweiser's Accuser Was "Coached"

GEORGETOWN, Del. - The case against Eric Bodenweiser, the former state senate candidate, accused of molesting a young boy took a surprising turn Thursday morning. The accuser who said Bodenweiser molested him from 1987 to 1989, when he was between 10 and 12 years old, left the court early, saying he fell ill.

Once the jury was sent home, the attorney's for Bodenweiser filed for an immediate court hearing, over suspicions that the accuser was "coached" in the middle of testimony. 
The motion called for a "Voir Dire" hearing, in which the judge questions all relevant people that made contact with the witness in between testimony. In particular, it called for questioning of all state authorities he talked to in between Tuesday's closing and Wednesday's opening of trial. 

Defense attorney Joe Hurley said that the victim appeared to have improved his demeanor and voice inflection greatly Wednesday morning, which he considered suspicious. On Tuesday, the victim appeared angry and frustrated, at times yelling at Hurley. On Wednesday, he was visibly more in control. 

In the motion, Hurley wrote that the alleged victim started to make "direct eye contact with the jury" on Wednesday, adding that he started to speak like a "teacher explaining a concept to students." 

"The clasping of the hands, the rotation of the body, the eye sweep of the jury and the modulation of the voice are hallmarks of training," the document read. 

On the witness stand, the alleged victim said that he did not receive any coaching. He said that the only person he talked to was his wife for emotional support. 

So far at the hearing, the judge questioned Beverly Ellis, a Department of Justice worker, who guides witnesses through the judicial process and Detective Jonathan King from the Delaware State Police. Both of them told the judge and counsel that they had not offered any tips or guidance to the accuser. 

The accuser will have his turn to be questioned Friday morning as well. The judge will then make a decision as to whether or not any coaching had taken place. If he finds there is sufficient evidence, then it will be his duty to inform the jury of this, telling them to consider this when evaluating the credibility of the witness' testimony. 

Hurley said that the alleged victim's actions indicated that he was receiving some level of coaching. 

"Some how some way somebody has talked to him," he said. "And maybe he'll remember exactly where he got his inspiration or maybe as he's done so many times he'll say 'I don't remember.'"

The accuser told the jury Monday that Bodenweiser had molested him on five separate occasions between 1987 and 1989. Bodenweiser faces 14 counts of "unlawful sexual intercourse," in the first degree as well as 14 counts of "unlawful sexual contact" in the second degree.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, through cross-examination, Hurley questioned the accuser, arguing that he had contradictions in his story, including inconsistencies of certain facts from one interview to another. In particular, Hurley referenced a May 25th interview, in which the accuser gave a differing account from the initial October, 2012 interview, in regards to what type of sex act took place on which date.

Last Friday, Bodenweiser's Pastor Duane Smith took the stand, telling the jury that his congregate and friend had confessed to the crime while they were talking in privacy. Hurley argued that Smith had simply misunderstood Bodenweiser's confession. He said that his client was admitting to providing pornography to the young boy, but said that he was not confessing to anything more than that. 

The trial was expected to take about two weeks, but after a very slow start, it could significantly longer than that. It will resume Friday morning, with more cross-examination of the accuser. 
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