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CNN Today

Defense Makes Case in Mark Chmura Sexual Assault Trial

Aired January 31, 2001 - 1:12 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: The defense began laying out its case today in the sexual assault trial of former NFL player Mark Chmura. Chmura's attorneys have questioned a handful of witnesses, including the 18-year-old babysitter who says that he raped her last year.

Joel Kleefisch of CNN affiliate WISN is in Waukesha, Wisconsin now to bring us an update now -- Joel.

JOEL KLEEFISCH, WISN REPORTER: Joie, today the defense began presenting their case, attempting to discredit medical records of the sexual assault exam of Chmura's accuser. She was on the stand nearly the whole day yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KLEEFISCH (voice-over): Chmura's accuser testified she wasn't sure of many details of the alleged assault. She also says she was fuzzy about statements she gave in a police report soon after the April 9 party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I were to read to you everything else that's in Stephanie Bennett's (ph) report about what you told her at that meeting when you met with her after 18:45 hours on April the 9th, would your answers be that, I don't know whether or not I told her that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I don't recall.

KLEEFISCH: She disputed use in court of what the defense says is a full-scale model or the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not the size of the bathroom. It's hard for me to tell when everything's much closer and much light. It's not going to look -- I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you unable to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm unable to do it with this model, yes.

KLEEFISCH: The teen made it clear she disliked Chmura before the April 9 party, admitting on the stand that she told someone at the party a rumor Chmura fathered a child with a previous babysitter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there was a rumor going around about somebody that I liked and somebody that I respected, then I would probably come to their defense. But this was a rumor about someone who I strongly disliked and strongly disrespected, so I didn't care how that rumor spread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you didn't care about the truth of it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

KLEEFISCH: Chmura's defense also questioned the teen about making money after the trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever talked to anybody about maybe suing Mr. Chmura?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been discussed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many people have you discussed that with?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KLEEFISCH: So today, testimony continues, we expect. Defense testimony continue into tomorrow with a potential wrap-up of this case, and closing arguments Friday or Saturday.

Of course, Joie, the big question is, will Mark Chmura take the stand?

CHEN: Joe, let's talk a little bit about what -- the case the defense is laying out. As it seems to me, what they're trying to do is point out the difficult relationship between the babysitter and the defendant as some sort of defense?

KLEEFISCH: Early on when they had time to question the accuser, they asked her about whether she hated Mark Chmura. She said in court she did say at the party that she had a strong dislike, even a hatred for him that built up long before the party. They asked several questions about that. Then later they asked her why at the party she had been playing drinking ping-pong games with him and associated with him at the party? to which she said she was just attempting to be civil at that point.

CHEN: Joel Kleefisch of WISN in Waukesha, Wisconsin joining us. Thanks very much, Joel.

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