Taking the stand for the first time in his rape trial yesterday, real estate broker Gary Hart denied raping and choking a woman followinga date in October.
Hart testified that sex he had with the woman was consentual and that the 34-year-old only got upset after he told her he would not take her on a golfing trip to Florida.
"She never indicated to me that she didn't want sex," Hart said. "She certainly was having a good time. In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine that beingagainst her will."
Hart's testimony at timesdirectly contradicted what the woman told the jury two weeks ago, when she said the first time she had sex with Hart was the morning she allegedly was attacked.
The woman testified that Hart raped and choked her Oct. 16 in his home on Thomas Point Road. Yesterday, nearingthe end of the nearly three-week trial, Hart called the story ridiculous.
"The only thing I might have done to (the woman) against herwill was tell her I wasn't going to see her anymore," Hart testified.
The woman testified that she and Hartwere not steadily dating and that the prominent real estate broker had pursued her for months since meeting her at Jason's, a night club in Annapolis where she worked as a waitress.
Hart said he asked her out a few times and said they had sex in the woman's Annapolis apartment after their first datein August. "One thing led to another and we ended up in bed," he said.
The woman testified that Hart did not spend the night.
Hart testified that the woman came over to his house the following week with plans of going out, but it was raining and Hart said she arrived drunk. "It was obvious she had been drinking, she was giggly and silly," he said.
Hart said that she was wet from walking outside in therain, and he offered her a pink shirt, which he said she subsequently wore every night she stayed over.
The woman testified that she only slept over at Hart's house once before the alleged attack, and that time she slept on a downstairs couch.
"(The woman) has never slept on the sofa in the house," Hart said. "Every night she has been over she has been in my bed with me."
The night before the alleged attack, Hart said he and the woman had a date planned, but the woman called up and said her apartment was flooded by a broken dishwasher. He said she asked to come over and take a shower. Following the shower and a dinner in Annapolis, Hart said he and woman ended up in bed at his home.
"Was there anything different in the way you had sex on Oct. 16 from any of the previous occasions?" one of Hart's attorneys, Arnold Weiner, asked.
"No," Hart answered. "I mean, we had sex on a few occasions. The only thing I can remember is that I was tired."
Hart said that soon after sex,the woman woke him up and asked about taking her to Florida.
"I tried to stall the subject," Hart said. "I said, 'I can't make that commitment.' It would have been somewhat awkward to bring someone down there who was not a golfer. . . . She got a little ticked off.
"I tried to calm her down. I could see this was out of hand. I said to her, 'Get a grip. We'll talk about this later.' Finally, I said she could forget about everything because we don't need to see each other any more. She walked out the front door and I went to bed."
The woman has testified that she called Hart Oct. 15 to break the date because of the flood, but Hart pleaded with her to go out anyway and then convinced her to spend the night at his apartment.
She also testified that Hart tried to get her to go to Florida, but she refused because she didn't want to take a tripwith him.
Hart said he first started hearing rumors that the woman was saying she was raped from friends who overheard conversations at Jason's. He said he tried to call the woman, but could not reach her. He also said he told several business associates about the rumors Oct. 18.
One of those business associates, Lee Mohen, has testified that Hart told him he was afraid the sex he had with the woman could be considered rape.
Hart testified yesterday that he mentioned the rumors and how ridiculous he felt they were, but did not say he believed he may have abused the woman.