Accuser 'star-struck,' Tyson witnesses testify 4 from pageant say she knew he was rich

February 07, 1992|By New York Times News Service

INDIANAPOLIS -- When Mike Tyson's accuser first met the former heavyweight champion at a beauty pageant last July, she was "star-struck," flirted with him and was soon talking about his money, four witnesses testified yesterday in his rape trial.

One of the witnesses, Madelyn D. Whittington, a college senior from Ohio, testified that minutes after the 23 contestants in the Miss Black America pageant were introduced to Mr. Tyson, the accuser told her of plans to go out with him.

" 'Yes, of course I'm going,' " Ms. Whittington quoted the woman as saying. " 'This is Mike Tyson. He's got a lot of money. He's dumb. You see what Robin Givens got out of him.' "

Ms. Givens, the actress, is Mr. Tyson's former wife. Like Mr. TC Tyson's accuser, Ms. Whittington and the three other defense witnesses were contestants in the pageant.

Mr. Tyson has been accused of raping the 18-year-old woman in the early hours of July 19. The testimony of the four witnesses was meant to bolster one of the main defense contentions: that his accuser is a gold digger who from the beginning viewed him as a source of wealth. Mr. Tyson conceded that he had sex with the woman, but he has insisted that she was a willing participant.

Two of the witnesses, Cecellia Alexander and Parquita Nassau, recalled with almost the same words a conversation between Mr. Tyson's accuser and another contestant, Pasha Oliver. Ms. Oliver, they said, jokingly referred to Mr. Tyson as the woman's husband and joked about how inarticulate he was.

The witnesses said the woman's reply was: "Mike doesn't have to know how to speak. He'll make all the money and I'll do all the talking."

Their testimony came after a one-day delay caused by a fire early Wednesday that damaged the hotel in which the jurors were being sequestered. Two firefighters and a businessman were killed in the blaze, but none of the jurors were injured.

One juror was apparently too shaken by the fire to continue and was replaced.

In presenting Mr. Tyson's case, his lead lawyer, Vincent J. Fuller, has contended that the woman fabricated the rape charge after discovering that she would be nothing more than "a one-night stand." If Mr. Tyson is convicted of rape, Mr. Fuller has said, the woman will find it easier to win a civil lawsuit and become, in his words, "a very wealthy woman."

The defense has also asserted that during Mr. Tyson's 36-hour visit to this city, as part of the Indiana Black Expo, a lot of people saw his rude, even lewd, behavior.

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