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George Hansen acquitted on second charge

Hung jury on third charge

— A former Yakima County and Sunnyside prosecuting attorney was acquitted on the second of three sex-related charges against him yesterday in Superior Court.

The judge had sent jurors home for the night Wednesday after appearing deadlocked on the two charges that weren’t decided in May against George Theodore Hansen, a Grandview native.

Yesterday the jury came back with an acquittal on the charge of unlawful imprisonment. There was a hung jury on the charge of forcible indecent liberties. The charge of which Hansen was acquitted at his first trial was attempted rape.

Deliberations at the second trial began at 3 p.m. Tuesday when closing arguments ended. They continued throughout the day Wednesday.

After 4 p.m., jurors told Judge Candace Hooper they were deadlocked on the third charge.

Rather than immediately declare a mistrial, the judge sent jurors home for the night.

After the acquittal on the first charge in May, Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic decided to take the two remaining charges to a second trial. Brusic could go for a third trial on the third charge, but he did not return a call from the Daily Sun News yesterday.

“I hope he doesn’t,” defense attorney David Allen of Seattle said. “It was ridiculous the second time. It would be silly a third time.”

Allen said Brusic just never had the case he thought he had. This case was a battle between two adults who worked together and struck up a consensual 4-year sexual relationship, Allen said.

Brusic made a comment to the Daily Sun in May that made him seem unsure.

“Whenever you have a situation like this, involving a sex assault, it always comes down to a credibility issue,” he said.

Yesterday Allen was asking rhetorically why Brusic insisted on trying this case.

“Did he have a vendetta against George?” he wondered.

Allen believes the woman in the case filed the charges hoping she’d be able to cash in with a lawsuit afterwards.

Allen noted that after the first trial, six jurors found his client not guilty on the forcible indecent liberties charges, and five thought him not guilty of unlawful imprisonment.

“I was surprised he brought George back for a second trial,” he said.

This time, Allen said, the hung jury voted 8-4 in favor of not guilty on the third charge.

Yakima County Superior Court judges recused themselves from hearing the case last year, and it was moved to Kittitas County Superior Court.

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