Criminal Justice

Lawyer on trial for alleged sex assault may have tried to taint evidence with lip balm, cop says


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Prosecutors contend a Chicago real-estate lawyer accused of sexual assault tried to cover up evidence of the crime with lip balm.

Anthony Bergamino Jr., now 51, is accused of sexually assaulting a woman who left her hotel room door propped open for an expected visit by a male friend. During his trial on Tuesday, Chicago police officer Willie Peoples testified that Bergamino covered his hands in lip balm during the booking procedure in August 2012, report the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

“His hands were shined up like a glazed donut,” Peoples testified. Prosecutors implied Bergamino used the lip balm to taint any DNA evidence on his hand.

Peoples said the woman, who was hysterical, identified Bergamino as Peoples was escorting her back to her room after she reported the alleged attack. Bergamino said he didn’t know the woman, Peoples testified.

Defense lawyer Juliet Sorensen asserted that Bergamino had met the woman as she was returning from a dinner with co-workers, and a later encounter that involved kissing and touching was “mutual and consensual.” The woman, however, testified she had never seen Bergamino before he entered her hotel room and pinned her to the bed. She was able to push him away, she said, but he vowed to come back. She said Bergamino smelled of alcohol and was slurring his words.

The woman and her male friend both acknowledged they deleted text messages discussing the open door. The woman said she frequently clears her phone, while the friend said he deleted or lost the texts when he replaced his phone.

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