San Diego

Navy Commander Faces New Jury Trial on Attempted Rape Allegations

The retrial of a former U.S. Navy commander accused of trying to rape a Navy colleague began Thursday.

Commander John M. Neuhart’s first trial last December ended with the jury hung 11-1 for conviction on the alleged sex crimes.

That first jury also failed to reach a unanimous verdict on felony assault and burglary charges.

Neuhart now faces a new jury, and a different judge, in a case involving five criminal charges. Neuhart’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told jurors they will hear from a DNA expert and a psychologist who did not testify in the first trial.

Prosecutor Jennifer Tag said she will also use at least one new expert witness, who will rebut aspects of Neuhart’s testimony. He is expected to testify on his own behalf, as he did in the first trial.

Legal expert Anthony Colombo said both attorneys have had time to focus their presentations and will benefit from their study of transcripts from the first trial.

Colombo said the prosecutor has the advantage of closely reviewing Neuhart’s testimony and developing tough questions to test his credibility.

He also said both attorneys have undoubtedly talked with jurors from the first trial, and learned valuable information about what evidence, testimony and arguments resonated most with the panel.

Colombo also said the defense attorney would have gained important insight from the lone hold-out for acquittal, if that juror talked with the defense after the first trial.

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