LOS ANGELES – A judge on Monday denied a request for a new trial for Indian-born fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander but found there had been misconduct by a juror and the defendant's sister during the sexual assault case.
Alexander, 35, was convicted of 14 counts including forcible rape. He was found not guilty of four felonies, and jurors could not reach a verdict on three counts. Prosecutors said he lured aspiring models to Los Angeles and sexually assaulted them.
Superior Court Judge David Wesley found juror Alvin Dymally and Sanjana Alexander in contempt of court after determining Dymally appeared to be seeking a romantic relationship with Alexander when he spoke to her by phone twice during the trial and offered his help.
Dymally also gave her a note in a courthouse cafeteria, asking her to call him. She did but refused to meet with him alone.
The judge held her in contempt for contacting the juror and failing to report the misconduct.
"She thought he was going to vote not guilty and she wanted that," Wesley said during Monday's hearing.
Defense attorneys claimed Dymally changed his vote to guilty after Sanjana Alexander refused to meet with him.
Later, outside the courtroom, a tearful Sanjana said, "This is a total travesty of justice. I did not go meet with him. If I did, this wouldn't have happened."
Asked why she didn't report the calls to her lawyers or the court, she said she was scared because she thought more jurors might be involved with him. She also said, "Nobody asked me."
The judge held Dymally in contempt for violating court instructions and also said the juror had lied on the witness stand about his phone conversations with Sanjana Alexander.
Wesley, however, said there was no proof the telephone conversations swayed the verdict.
"It is settled law in this state that a new trial will not be granted where there is misconduct of such a trifling nature," the judge said.
After the judge's ruling, prosecutors immediately filed a sentencing memorandum in which they asked that Alexander be imprisoned for the maximum possible under the law — three terms of 53 years and six months to life.
Alexander's sentencing was set for Aug. 31, with contempt hearings for his sister and Dymally to follow in September.
Anand Jon Alexander has been featured on the TV show "America's Next Top Model" and worked with such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Mary J. Blige.