A 50-year-old attorney who lives in Meridian and practices law in Canyon County was in court Tuesday — as a defendant.
John Prior is accused of trying to have sex with a woman who rebuffed his advances at his Nampa law office on May 31, 2011. He was indicted by a grand jury earlier this year on a charge of battery with the intent to commit a serious felony (rape).
A jury was seated Tuesday, and opening arguments began at about 2:30 p.m.
Because Prior is a defense attorney in Canyon County, prosecutors there asked the state attorney general’s office to handle the case.
In opening arguments, a deputy attorney general said Prior propositioned a woman who had come to his office to talk to him about a job and to discuss a child custody case.
“He had something else in mind, and that was sex,” the prosecutor said. No one else was in the office at the time.
The prosecutor told jurors that Prior took the woman into a conference room on a ruse, then returned with a condom instead of paperwork. He is accused of taking off the woman’s clothes, forcing himself on top of her and attempting to rape her.
The prosecution said it plans to present DNA evidence indicating that Prior unlawfully touched the woman.
Prior gave the woman cash, and that’s what Prior’s attorney, Scott Fouser, says the whole incident was about.
Fouser told the jury that he would present a very different scenario: The alleged victim was in dire financial straits and agreed to have sex for cash, then lied about it to her family, her boyfriend and police.
He said he would present video surveillance from the law office and evidence of a bank deposit of $200 by the woman about 15 minutes later.
Fouser said the woman’s description of what happened — including how much money she received and what she did with it — was different each time she told it. He said Prior did not have intercourse with the woman, but did engage in consensual sexual activity.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413