Witness Waited 5 Months To Tell Police About Hart

June 26, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A former employee of Gary Hart testified yesterday that he waited five months before giving authorities incriminating evidence of the real estate broker's involvement in an alleged rape because he wanted tosee if Hart could work things out on his own.

"I wanted to see him work it out with authorities and the woman," Lee Mohen Jr. said. "Iwanted to see him try and get help -- psychological help."

Answering questions from Assistant State's Attorney William C. Mulford II, Mohen said he decided to call police following an altercation with Hart March 6 in an Annapolis bowling alley because he was scared.

"I decided to call police before that," Mohen said. "But thatevening is what triggered it. I really believed that some harm was going to come."

Mohen testified Friday that Hart told him he was afraid that sex Hart had had with a woman in October was rape. The woman has testified that Hart raped her Oct. 16 in his home following a date.

Hart has acknowledged in interviews that he had sex with the 34-year-old woman, but he said it was consentual.

One of Hart's lawyers, Steven Allen, tried to paint Mohen on Monday as a man acting out of spite and revenge, as a man who hated his former employer with a passion.

He questioned Mohen on everything from stealing real estate clients to being angry about a racial slur Hart made against Mohen's granddaughter, which led to the altercation at the bowling alleythe same night Mohen said he called police asking for the detective working on the Hart case.

Allen also had said that one of the reasons Mohen was angry at Hart was because Hart "chewed him out" in Hart's real estate office for not being able to secure a loan to refinance Hart's home.

Mohen had testified that Hart asked him to commit fraud. Under questioning from Mulford yesterday, Mohen said Hart told him to report false income.

Mohen said Hart refused to reveal his salary, information Mohen needed for the loan application. "He asked me how much I needed (to get the loan)," Mohen said. "I told him. He said, 'Put that down.' That's why I sandbagged the loan."

During one of many bench conferences yesterday, Hart's other lawyer, Arnold Weiner, asked the judge for mistrial, saying the jury had been prejudiced by Mohen's testimony.

Bench conferences are meetings between the lawyers and judge conducted out of hearing of the jury. Lawyers usually use such conferences to get legal rulings on pending testimony.

Weiner told the judge that when Mohen testified about the allegedfraud, "Two women in back of the jury glared at Mr. Hart like I've never seen them glare during this trial.

"The testimony has had a devastating and visible impact on at least two of the jurors. . . It is obvious that (Mohen) is on a mission. He has been able to project to the jury that Mr. Hart is a racist and a fraud and someone in need of psychological help."

Circuit Judge H. Chester Goudy denied the motion.

Also testifying yesterday was Detective Jay Clark of the Anne Arundel County Police, who said Hart called him Nov. 7 and admitted to having sex with the woman.

"He was very casual, charismatic and articulate," Clark said. "He expressed to me he wanted to clear this matter up."

Weiner questioned the detective on his reports andnotes from conversations with the victim and asked why his office didn't take any photographs, even though the woman claimed she had beenchoked.

Clark said he didn't notice any marks on the woman, and didn't thoroughly check because the first two times he interviewed hershe didn't use the word "choke."

"She said he held her down usinghis arms," the officer said.

Clark was the state's final witness in the case. Hart's lawyers will start presenting their case this morning.

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