Prosecutor dismisses 2 sex assault charges against lawmaker

ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) — Citing new information, a prosecutor Thursday dismissed two sexual assault charges against a Vermont state senator that were brought by a former legislative assistant.

The surprise move ended the trial of Republican Sen. Norman McAllister one day after it began. He still faces four related counts in a separate trial this fall involving two other women.

Deputy State’s Attorney Diane Wheeler did not elaborate Thursday on the dismissal.

“No, I can’t. I don’t want anything to affect any future trials,” she said.

McAllister, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, declined to comment.

In the trial, the 21-year-old accuser testified that the senator forced her to have oral sex in a barn at his farm and intercourse at his home in Franklin.

The 4-foot, 11-inch woman, who weighs less than 100 pounds, spoke of up to 30 incidents in which she said McAllister, a foot taller and 230 pounds, overpowered her.

Questioned by the defense Wednesday, she acknowledged that key elements of her testimony and her account to police and in pre-trial statements differed.

She also faced cross-examination Thursday, but the trial was delayed when Judge Robert Mello said an “essential person” was not available. Attorneys did not comment on what the issue was.

The trial was expected to include testimony from some of McAllister’s legislative colleagues.