SEATTLE - Danford Grant, a prominent Seattle lawyer accused of being a serial rapist, believes he should go free because new photos reveal the existence of "a hidden video camera in the massage room where two rapes and one attempted rape allegedly occurred," according to court documents recently filed in King County Superior Court.
Grant is charged with six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of burglary for allegedly attacking multiple women at massage clinics in Bellevue and Seattle. At least three of those incidents allegedly occurred at the Carnation Massage in Greenwood, where a woman told KIRO 7 that Grant had raped her twice.
"The first time, he actually carried a knife when he came here," the unidentified victim told KIRO 7 shortly after Grant was arrested in late September of 2012. Despite serving multiple search warrants on Grant’s home, car and office, no knife was ever found by Seattle Police detectives.
Days after Grant’s arrest, surveillance video showing him entering and leaving Carnation Massage on Northwest 85th Street was released. But Seattle police documents filed early in the investigation reveal the room where three of those alleged attacks occurred "is separate and no video footage will be present." However, in a Motion to Dismiss just filed by Grant's attorneys, new photographic images show hidden cameras disguised as smoke detectors they claim are located inside the private rooms at Carnation Massage. According to their Motion to Dismiss, Grant's lawyers claim Jie Shao, owner of Carnation Massage:
“deleted all the footage that recorded what really occurred during those three incidents charged in Counts 1, 5 and 6. The police and prosecutors allowed Jie Shao to retain possession of the DVR for a full month after they learned of the existence of the surveillance device, giving her ample time to destroy what was evidence of prostitution, not rape or attempted rape as charged in these three counts.”
Grant's lawyers also claim police and prosecutors took too long to get the video, so it "was destroyed because of gross mismanagement and reckless indifference of the State." The Motion to Dismiss also reveals “video the defense has uncovered from inside a massage room shows the accuser of Counts 5 & 6 having consensual sex with a massage customer" who was not Danford Grant.
In the nearly 200 pages of new documents, Grant's attorneys Richard Hansen and Cooper Offenbecher of Allen, Hansen & Maybrown in Seattle admit their client had sex with these women, but that it was always consensual. From the early days after Grant’s arrest, Hansen has repeatedly put the responsibility of what happened on the alleged victims, who are all massage providers saying outside of court months ago “a lot of these places (massage businesses) were advertising on Backpage. And that should tell you something.”
Richard Hansen had no comment today about the motion to dismiss.
Meanwhile, Ian Goodhew, Deputy Chief of Staff in King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office told KIRO 7 the video footage deleted from the “hidden” cameras could have also shown evidence of rape “but we’ll never know.” Goodhew said the motion to dismiss has “no merit.” His office has just received the motion and is preparing a response.
Grant’s trial is set for May.