Woman's Past Is Told To Hart Jury

2 Men Testify Of Affairs With Alleged Rape Victim

June 21, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A former Washington Redskin told a jury yesterday about his stormy four-year relationship with the woman who has accused real estate broker Gary Hart of rape.

James W. Steffan, who played in the NationalFootball League from 1959 to 1968, said he called the police to his Arnold home at least twice because of fights with the woman, once after she wielded a knife.

Steffan, 55, and a former defensive back and linebacker, told thejury that he and the woman were having an argument in the kitchen, when she turned toward him and raised the knife she had in her hand.

"I didn't like it, and I called the police," Steffan said. He said that the woman did not threaten to stab him and that calling the police was "just a normal reaction."

Steffan was one of two men calledto the stand to tell of their relationships with the alleged victim.

Steffan was cross-examined by Steve Allen, one of Hart's lawyers.Allen and attorney Arnold Weiner are trying to prove the alleged victim is an unreliable witness.

They claim that the woman suffers from a mental condition that causes her to fantasize about rape, has made up stories about being raped, has tried to commit suicide and, as recently as last week, locked herself in a boyfriend's bedroom with agun.

The 34-year-old woman, who spent more than seven hours on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday, has testified that Hart raped her Oct. 16 in his home in the 3700 block of Thomas Point Drive.

The woman told jurors that Hart held her face-down and raped and choked her. Hart has said in interviews that he had sex with the woman that night, but that it was consentual.

Steffan, who said he has dated the woman on and off for four years, said he did not know that the woman had gone out on several dates with Hart over a three-month period until shortly after she said she had been raped.

He said he andthe woman argued at times, but he loved her and lent her money even after a psychiatrist recommended in November 1988 that they split up for a while. The doctor even drew up what defense lawyers claim is a separation agreement.

The agreement, signed by Steffan, spelled out guidelines for the couple to see each other and said Steffan would lend her money for several months so she could rent an apartment and would give her $50 a week for 12 weeks.

Steffan said the agreementwas merely a list of suggestions by the doctor.

Defense lawyers also brought up a car accident in Annapolis involving Steffan and the woman in March 1990. Allen said Steffan and the woman argued and drove off in separate cars. The attorney claimed that the woman then attempted to run Steffan off Taylor Avenue and that he lied about the incident to his insurance company to protect her.

Steffan denied Allen's allegations, saying he struck another car, which drove off and has never been found.

Allen also accused Steffan of being jealous and following the woman after the two had agreed to date other people.

Also testifying yesterday was Dennis J. G. Plummer, a private contractor and a part-time bartender at Jason's, an Annapolis night club.

He said he met the alleged victim in July 1990, when the woman started working at the club as a waitress. He said that the two became friends and that they started dating the first week of October.

Plummer testified that he did not know the woman also had gone out withHart twice after their relationship began.

Under questioning fromAssistant State's Attorney William C. Mulford II, Plummer said he and the woman had sexual intercourse in the first week of October.

Normally, an alleged victim's past sexual history is inadmissible in arape trial. But in this case, the defense is trying to prove the woman and Hart had a three-month, intimate relationship.

The woman has testified that the first time she and Hart had sex was when she wasattacked. But hospital records show the woman told doctors after thealleged rape that the last time she had sex was about Oct. 2.

Defense lawyers allege that was during a date Hart had with the woman.

Plummer testified that he and the woman left Jason's about 2 a.m. on either Oct. 1 or 2, and then went to the woman's apartment.

But under questioning from Weiner, Plummer said he was not sure of the date. Work records from Jason's show the only time the couple worked together that week was the night of Sept. 30. Plummer punched out at 3 a.m., and the woman punched out at 1:30 a.m., the records show.

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