Diane Wheeler

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Sexual assault charges against senator dismissed

ST. ALBANS — A judge has dismissed sexual assault charges against a sitting state senator. Thursday morning, Judge Robert Mello dismissed two felony charges of sexual assault against Sen. Norm McAllister, R-Franklin, who was facing the possibility of life in prison if convicted on either charge. Mello dismissed the charges at the request of Franklin County Deputy State’s Attorney Diane Wheeler, who sought dismissal on the basis of what she called “some information that came to light last evening.”

In this case, “last evening” followed the first day of McAllister’s trial Wednesday, which included testimony from one witness, the now-21-year-old woman who testified McAllister sexually assaulted her numerous times, beginning when she was 16 years old. The accuser testified for more than four hours Wednesday — and was expected to return to the witness stand Thursday — as she recounted alleged assaults that took place on or near McAllister’s farm in Franklin as well as a house in Montpelier he shared with fellow lawmakers during the legislative session. Continue Reading →

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Jury set for McAllister sexual assault trial

ST. ALBANS — The jury is set for the sexual assault trial of Sen. Norman McAllister. Following hours of questioning from attorneys representing the prosecution and the defense, a field of 84 prospective jurors was weened down to seven men and five women. The Republican senator from Franklin County is facing two counts of sexual assault — each count carries a potential life sentence — following his arrest at the State House in May 2015. His trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday and run through Friday. Continue Reading →

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