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Trial begins for Hornets owner
George Shinn answering charges of sexual assault
Posted: Monday September 13, 1999 06:28 PM
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn was in court Monday for the start of a trial in which he is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home.
A jury of nine men and three women were selected for the civil trial, which Circuit Judge Costa Pleicones said could take more than a week.
Shinn contends the sex with was consensual and his lawyers have tried to portray Leslie Price as promiscuous. Her lawyers have testimony from a former Hornets cheerleader who says she had a sexual relationship with Shinn because he threatened to fire her.
Price sued in February 1998, saying she met Shinn through his nephew. She and the nephew were at a center in Charlotte, N.C., that treats patients for drug and alcohol abuse and behavioral problems.
Price alleges Shinn took her to his lakeside house in suburban Tega Cay, just over the South Carolina line, on the pretext of meeting his lawyer, Bill Diehl, to discuss a domestic dispute with her husband.
Price said Diehl was not there, but she alleges that while on a tour of the house, Shinn stopped in the bedroom, shoved her onto the bed and tried to rape her while she repeatedly screamed "No!"
Shinn then forced her into oral sex, the suit said.
Criminal investigators at first decided not to press charges but now are taking another look at the case. Prosecutor Tommy Pope said last week he would decide on reopening the case until the trial is over.
Shinn has since been divorced by his wife and has moved to Florida.
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