by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:
Some of the felony charges against Danford Grant – the Seattle attorney accused of raping massage parlor workers – have been dismissed.
Prosecutors say they’re narrowing the number of charges before trial, but did not elaborate on why the charges were dropped. Grant still faces five felony charges, and jury selection began Monday.
Grant’s defense has claimed the women were working as prostitutes and the sex was consensual. There also were questions about a videotape at one of the massage parlors that was destroyed. Grant’s defense has said that would show criminal activity. Prosecutors dispute that.
Charges that were dropped are for the two alleged victims who worked at Carnation Massage. One of them was, JW, who was caught on videotape having sex with a man, according to investigation documents. The other alleged victim, MZ, said Grant raped her in a car.
In documents filed last month in King County Superior Court, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Val Richey described items found as part of Grant’s "rape tool kit." The prosecutor claims Grant used it when he allegedly raped women at massage parlors in 2011 and 2012.
According to the documents, Grant had asked the court not to allow testimony about “evidence seized from the defendant’s car” specifically “an empty knife pouch, a knit head covering with an open face, a prescription bottle of Cialis, and an inoperable pellet pistol.” Grant’s attorneys argued “admission of what could certainly be called ‘a rape tool kit’ to be highly prejudicial.”
KIRO 7 was the first to report months ago on the discovery of the pellet gun, knit hat and Cialis. What's just been released as attorneys get ready for trial is the detail of the empty knife sheath which was found in the center console of Grant's Honda Pilot, according to Richey.
Two of the five alleged victims claim Grant held a knife to their throats before he raped them, including a woman who worked at Carnation Massage, identified in court documents as “JW.”
JW told KIRO 7 within days after Grant’s arrest that the Seattle lawyer was armed with a knife the first of two times she says he raped her. However, no knife has ever been found.
According to the documents, "Both victims who were raped at knife-point describe a folding-type knife consistent in size with this empty sheath" found in the “rape tool kit.” Richey argues in the brief that evidence of the knife sheath and Cialis is admissible because "such a 'rape tool kit' is highly probative of a serial rapist's plan and intent." The State is not planning to admit testimony relating to the pellet pistol or the knit ski cap because “no witnesses have come forward to indicate that a pistol was used or that their assailant wore a knit ski cap.”
Grant's attorneys Richard Hansen and Cooper Offenbecher have said they will argue at trial that all sex between their client and the five alleged victims was consensual, not rape.
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