Criminal Justice

Lawyer Takes Misdemeanor Plea During Trial for Alleged Attack on Woman in Law Office Conference Room

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Faced with the possibility of a maximum 20-year prison sentence if he had been found guilty of felony battery for allegedly forcing himself on a woman in his law office conference room last year, an Idaho attorney has taken a mid-trial plea to misdemeanor battery.

John Prior, 50, will now face a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine when he is sentenced in November in the Canyon County case, according to the Idaho Statesman and KTVB.

Prior was indicted by a grand jury for felony battery with intent to commit rape after being accused of attacking a 20-year-old woman who said she came to his Nampa office seeking a job and advice on a child-custody case, the Statesman reports. Before the trial concluded Friday with Prior’s plea, his lawyer, Scott Fouser, told the jury during opening statements that Prior paid the woman, who was in dire straits financially, for sex. She then lied about the incident to her boyfriend, her family and police, Fouser said.

However, the woman testified before Prior took his plea that she refused when he offered her a job and help with the custody case in exchange for having sex with him, the Associated Press reported earlier.

The state attorney general’s office prosecuted the case.

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