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September 1, 2009

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Designer faces life for sexual assaults

Indian fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander will learn what his sentence will be for sexually assaulting aspiring models he lured to Los Angeles, only to be sent to New York where he faces similar charges.

Alexander, 35, was scheduled to be sentenced yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Prosecutors have asked that he be imprisoned for the maximum possible - three terms of 53 years and six months to life.

He was convicted last November of 14 counts including forcible rape. Some of his victims, who ranged in age from 14 to 21, were expected to speak.

Prosecutors said Alexander often found women online, baited them with promises of modeling work, only to fondle or rape them at his Beverly Hills apartment.

The trial was marked by allegations of juror tampering by his sister, Sanjana, juror misconduct and Alexander's decision to represent himself.

In July Superior Court Judge David Wesley found juror Alvin Dymally and Sanjana Alexander in contempt of court after determining Dymally appeared to want a romantic relationship with her when he spoke to her by phone twice during the trial and offered his help. Dymally also gave her a note in a courthouse cafeteria, asking her to call him. She did but refused to meet with him alone.

The judge held her in contempt for contacting the juror and failing to report the misconduct.

Wesley, however, did not grant Alexander's motion for a new trial, saying there wasn't any proof the phone conversations swayed the verdict.

The designer has been featured on the television show "America's Next Top Model" and worked with such celebrities as Paris Hilton.


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