Lawyer to seek release of Saudi air force sergeant

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2013 3:12 PM
Lawyer to seek release of Saudi air force sergeant

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A defense attorney said Thursday he'll ask a judge to allow the release of a Saudi Arabia air force sergeant jailed since New Year's Eve on allegations that he pulled a 13-year-old boy into a Las Vegas Strip hotel room and raped him.

Mazen Alotaibi stood in blue jail garb, slippers and shackles, staring at the courtroom floor and listening with an Arabic translator while local lawyer John Parris stood in for defense attorney Don Chairez.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Bill Kephart agreed to hold a bail hearing with Chairez and prosecutors on Friday. The judge postponed an evidence hearing until next month. He did not pick a specific date.

Alotaibi spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the proceedings and agreed to the delay.

Chairez, of Newport Beach, Calif., said in a telephone interview that he'll offer to have the 23-year-old aircraft mechanic surrender his Saudi diplomatic passport and stay in the U.S. if he's allowed to post $25,000 bail.

Prosecutor Mary Kay Holthus said prosecutors are seeking $1 million bail, surrender of Alotaibi's passport, house arrest and electronic monitoring pending trial.

Alotaibi plans to plead not guilty to all charges, Chairez said. The charges — kidnapping, two counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14 years of age and felony sexual coercion — could get him decades in prison if he's convicted. Alotaibi also is charged with burglary, which in Nevada can stem from a person entering a building with intent to commit a felony.

Alotaibi is accused of forcing the boy into a sixth-floor room at the Circus Circus hotel and sexually assaulting him the morning before a New Year's Eve fireworks celebration on the Las Vegas Strip.

Police reported collecting DNA evidence from the boy, as well as a used condom and soiled towel from the bathroom where the boy said the attack took place. The boy lives out of state and was staying at the hotel with his family, police said.

Alotaibi produced a Saudi Arabian military identification showing he was stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland near San Antonio, Texas. Chairez said Alotaibi had been in the U.S. for about 18 months and was currently stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.

Alotaibi's diplomatic passport doesn't provide full diplomatic immunity from prosecution in criminal matters, Chairez said.

According to his arrest report, Alotaibi told investigators he arrived in Las Vegas early Dec. 31, went to a striptease club, drank cognac and was intoxicated. Police said he provided various accounts of his encounter with the boy.

Chairez said he has spoken several times with Alotaibi and with Saudi government officials. Chairez said the Saudi government was funding Alotaibi's defense.


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