Seattle lawyer accused of rapes makes first court appearance



SEATTLE - A Seattle lawyer accused of raping massage parlor employees pleaded not guilty during a brief court hearing Wednesday for arraignment on rape and other charges.


The lawyer for Danford Grant did not argue for lower bail, said KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois, who attended the hearing.  Grant is being held in the King County Jail pending $3 million bail.


In charges filed on Sept. 27, prosecutors said Grant is "an extreme danger to the community" who attacked four massage parlor employees.


"In mid-August, he broke down the door of a home and violently raped another massage therapist inside.  In late August, he raped a massage therapist in Bellevue at knifepoint. In mid-September, he raped a fourth victim at knifepoint at a massage parlor.  And in late September, he attacked the fourth victim again and raped forcibly raped her," the prosecutor's office wrote in the documents.


Grant was arrested Sept. 24th, near a massage clinic in Greenwood.


Prosecutors said they have surveillance video of Grant and DNA evidence that links him to the rapes.


Criminal defense attorney Jeff Coopersmith, who is not related to the case, said because of the video and DNA, Grant's defense will most likely argue that the alleged sexual contact was consensual.


Grant is charged with six felonies, including rape and burlgary.


Grant’s lawyers asked that the media not be allowed to take video of their client’s face.  But in an unusual move, prosecutors asked for the same thing.


Coopersmith said a photo of a suspect, whether it’s video from a TV news camera or from a Facebook page or another source, can affect the case.


In Grant’s case, Seattle police said there could be other victims who have not come forward, and police want possible victims to be able to identify someone from the scene of the crime and not from another source.


For instance, if the defense can show that the victim saw the person’s face on the news, or on the person’s website, if they have one, then it has the potential to create an argument for the defense that the victim is identifying the person from those things and not from the actual time of the crime.


Coopersmith acknowledges that in the age of the Internet it can be very difficult to keep a suspect’s image out of the public.


KIRO 7 Eyewitness News is showing a photo of Grant’s face because his picture was on his law firm’s website long before he was arrested.


He was a partner at a Seattle law firm, but his name was recently removed from the law practice's name.