SYCAMORE – Michael Gholson was acquitted Tuesday of criminal sexual assault after a two-day trial in which prosecutors' only evidence was testimony of two witnesses.
At trial, prosecutors argued Gholson, 37, of the 3800 block of South Pointe Drive in DeKalb, had raped a friend's wife in December 2010 and called the friend three days later bragging about it.
However, Gholson's defense pointed out that there was no DNA evidence in the case, which made jurors rely on testimony from Gholson's friend and the victim.
"[Gholson and the woman] were the only two people there," defense attorney Robert Nolan said.
Jurors took about six hours to render a verdict.
Gholson was accused of raping the woman at his friend's Somonauk home Dec. 15, 2010. The woman, who has since divorced Gholson's friend, testified that she felt dizzy after drinking a couple of white Russian cocktails with her anxiety medication. Prosecutors said Gholson raped the woman after her husband left her sleeping on a couch and went to sleep upstairs.
If convicted, Gholson would have faced probation or between four and 15 years in prison. The Daily Chronicle does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assault; her ex-husband is not identified to protect her identity.
During closing arguments Tuesday, Nolan argued the victim's testimony showed her memory was cloudy about what actually happened. The ex-husband also has a hearing problem and had to cup his right ear with his hand to hear Nolan speaking in court, which means he could have misheard Gholson's call allegedly admitting to the assault, Nolan said.
Nolan also emphasized that the victim did not tell police about the incident for eight days.
Prosecutor Jessica Finley said that the victim waited because she was scared she would be punished for being at her husband's house despite an order of protection against her. Her husband received the order in October 2010, after he said his wife threatened him with a loaded gun and was verbally abusive, court records show.
The mistakes the victim made – such as not telling police right away and taking medicine with alcohol despite a warning label – did not give Gholson permission to rape her, Finley said.
"It's unfortunate the defendant doesn't have a warning label on him," she said.