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Former Idaho representative convicted of rape asks for new trial or acquittal


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BOISE (Idaho Capital Sun) — Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, whom a jury found guilty of felony rape in April, filed a motion seeking  a new trial or acquittal in Ada County’s Fourth District court on Friday.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney also requested that he be released on bond if a new trial is granted. A hearing to consider the motions will take place at 9 a.m. June 13.

Von Ehlinger, who represented Lewiston in the Idaho Legislature from 2020 to 2021, is scheduled to be sentenced July 28 for the rape conviction. 

A jury of seven men and six women on April 29 found von Ehlinger guilty of the crime of rape, and not guilty on a charge of forcible penetration with a foreign object.

The charges were related to a night in March 2021 when von Ehlinger, 39, took a 19-year-old legislative intern to dinner, then back to his apartment, where the former intern said he forced her to perform oral sex and inserted his fingers inside of her without her consent. Under Idaho Code, he faces between one year and life in prison for the crime.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, said in the motion for a new trial that a transcript of the four-day trial would show that evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction, that there was error regarding statutory and constitutional grounds during the trial, and that the verdict was contrary to the law or evidence.

“In addition, the defense anticipates that there will be presentation of new evidence at a hearing on the alternative motion for a new trial, and that additional time may be necessary to provide said information,” Cox wrote.

Von Ehlinger served in the Legislature for less than one year. Gov. Brad Little appointed von Ehlinger to the Idaho House of Representatives on June 3, 2020, to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Thyra Stevenson. 

He resigned from the Legislature following an ethics hearing in the House of Representatives in April 2021. The ethics committee recommended his suspension or expulsion for the alleged conduct.