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Anand Jon Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Assault Charges

PTI 30 Jan 2010, 16:04:08 PM IST

India-born celebrity fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander leaded not guilty to dozens of new charges of sexually assaulting at least nine women and underage girls here between 2002 and 2006 after being jailed for 59 years by a Los Angeles court for similar crimes, reports PTI.

The hearing in New York is separate from the case against 36-year-old Alexander in California, which concluded in 2008 with the designer being convicted of sexually assaulting seven women and girls and receiving a sentence of 59 years life-imprisonment. The girls were as young as 14.

In 2007, Alexander had been charged in New York but the case was in standby until the California case concluded.

The accused allegedly systematically molested women between the ages of 15 and 26 by using drugs and the opportunity of modelling to lure women during the period between 2002 and 2006 in New York.

The prosecutors also introduced new charges on yesterday, stating that two women became physically helpless because of the drugs the accused had given them, and again two of his victims were under-age.

 Wearing a white T-shirt, dark glasses and khaki pants, Alexander said nothing but "not guilty."  The New York charges could lead to 25 years in prison.

Alexander had maintained his innocence throughout the California case as well. His lawyers had claimed that many of women were lying about what happened to them.

Alexander was on his way up in the fashion industry when the charges against him surfaced, making an appearance on "America's Next Top Model" and working with celebrities like Paris Hilton.

Police began investigations in 2007 after a woman filed a complaint about being sexually assaulted in his apartment.

Anand Jon Alexander,  whose Indian-inspired frocks have been worn by Paris Hilton, Oprah and Janet Jackson,  was hauled into a Manhattan court from a California prison on Friday.

He's already serving 59 years to life in prison in California for sex assaults on seven other victims. More cases await in Dallas, authorities there have said.

His New York victims ranged in age from 15 to 26, law enforcement officials said, and came from across the country. Jonwould lure them to New York after seeing their pictures online. He would tell them "You're gorgeous," and that he wanted them to model in his fashion line.

Alexander, 36, pleaded "Not guilty" in a slight Indian accent. He wore a prison-issued beige pair of cargo pants and a white t-shirt. He's kept his designer eyeglasses, but his fancy mane of black hair has been cut off, except for the long fringe of bangs he kept brushing aside with a flick of his head as he stood before a judge.

Alexander will be held in New York pending a possible trial on the Manhattan charges, which include forcible sodomy and rape, carrying maximum sentences of 25 years to life in prison. California authorities have said that any sentences he earns elsewhere must be served after he completes his West Coast time.

His alleged attacks in New York took place between 2002 and 2006, and targeted young model wannabes. His youngest California victim was only 14.

Before his 2007 arrest, Alexander was named a person to watch by Newsweek magazine as an up-and-coming fashion star. He'd appeared as a guest designer on the reality show, "America's Next Top Model."

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