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Lawyer testifies he coated his hands with lip balm after arrest to sanitize hands

Posted Feb 27, 2014 11:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Chicago lawyer accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her hotel room denied the accusations on Wednesday and offered a reason why he coated his hands with lip balm after his arrest.

Anthony Bergamino Jr., 51, said he used Carmex lip balm because it is “anti-microbial” and he wanted to sanitize his hands after using the police station bathroom, which had no soap, hand towels or water. Prosecutors had implied he used the lip balm to hide DNA evidence. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have stories on Bergamino’s testimony.

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The Tribune notes that Bergamino “liberally applied Carmex to his lips before taking the stand.” A police officer had testified on Tuesday that Bergamino applied so much lip balm to his hands that they were “shined up like a glazed donut.”

Prosecutors allege that Bergamino sexually assaulted a Minnesota woman after she left her hotel door propped open for a male friend. But Bergamino testified he met the woman outside the hotel and she gave him her room number. After some drinks at a bar, he said, he knocked on her door and she led him into the room, where they kissed and touched. “It was a very consensual engagement, interaction,” he testified.

He said the woman asked him to leave because her friend was coming to the room. He said he went outside the hotel, but then decided to go back to the woman’s room to invite the woman to his apartment. The woman was with a police officer and identified Bergamino when she saw him in the hallway, according to prior testimony in the case.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. to correct a typo.

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