I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Prison

01 Sep


For a brief period, right after Anand Jon Alexander was first charged with rape and sexual assault, I wondered if there was anything to his protests of innocence, delivered passionately second-hand through his sister. Yes, the charges were gut-wrenchingly repugnant, but every man deserves a chance to defend himself. Besides, this whole episode took place in L.A. – where the police is famously overworked and given to leaks and general bumblings when it’s not notoriously handing out taps on the wrist to celebs who err. Could it be that he was innocent?

The subsequent revision of the charges (to 59 counts in California alone) and warrants issued by the states of New York, Massachusetts and Texas – and the defense team’s incredible theory of a vast Scorned Models’ Revenge Conspiracy scuttled that idea before it took root. What followed next blew my mind – either his legal team was on crack or else we have before us a prime example of the reason why so many women are still reluctant to report sexual assault. Here are some of the charges they leveled against the women who testified against Jon, either in public or in the press:

  • They’re disgruntled models who were out to punish Jon because he refused to hire them.
  • They’re trying to piggyback on this case to fame and fortune.
  • The convoluted American legal system is blowing up each little incident into something bigger. (“Sexual battery is attempted kiss.”)
  • They’re part of a larger conspiracy unleashed by mysterious forces jealous that Jon’s company had closed a funding deal and was about to go big.

I suppose “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” is an integral part of any rape trial because the accused is challenging the accuser’s version of events, but is it always this ham-handed? The more theories they set forward, the more the women appeared credible in comparison. Not helping matters was Sanjana Jon, Anand’s sister.

She’s devoted to her brother – I’ll say that. She organized events in his honor, went on every TV program that would have her, gave every interview she could, wept at press conferences, pleaded for the government of India to step in, and showed up for his trial. And it was when she was sitting in court that the whole thing took a turn for the farcical.

You see, on the jury was a guy named Alvin Dymally who was apparently of the “I want to make fraaandship with you” persuasion. He slipped her little notes, told her mother not to worry coz he was going to make things right, and arranged to meet her at a Starbucks. A whole bunch of stuff happened (read the links, it’s quite something) and he was ultimately allowed to stay on the jury – which found Jon guilty, by the way – but not before Sanjana was ordered to the stand.

The defense thought they were about to file for a mistrial, only see all their hopes go up in smoke as Sanjana went on to admit complicity all sorts of things, including an infamous flyer bearing the legend “Prostitutes for the Prosecution” over lingerie shots of the victims, some of them underage. The hearing ended with a stern warning to her friend and houseguest who allegedly printed them out, her husband pleading the Fifth and, a little while later, Jon firing his team of lawyers so he could represent himself.

He cried, he argued, he brought in his mother… and the judge gave him 59 to life in prison.

They’re going to make a movie of this any minute.

Jon’s best hope at this point as a non-citizen is deportation, an option that won’t be on the table (if it ever is) until he’s made his rounds of the Texas and New York courts. Additionally, Dymally has done enough to muck things up to the extent where the conviction is sure to go on appeal. Or maybe the Indian govt. will be able to impress Barack Obama by offering a photo-op with Rahul Gandhi or APJ Abdul Kalam and he’ll personally intervene to send Jon home.

Too bad they didn’t try his case in Philadelphia. He’d have got off easy. But there’s still hope in New York. Texas, not so much.


Posted by on September 1, 2009 in Celebrity, News


11 responses to “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Prison

  1. memsaab

    September 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    OMG, the comments from that LA weekly blog … *shakes head in wonder*

    Sometimes I never want to leave the safety of my little home ever again! (And is he facing charges in MA too?)

  2. pitu

    September 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    First they need to make the Shiney Ahuja movie! I don’t believe Jon is innocent. However, I remember getting this paperback at the library once that scared the beejesus out of me. It was a story about a farmer’s wife who is a teacher or a coach at a high school and is falsely accused of sexual abuse. Eventually, the kids admit it was a lark but the family’s entire life is destroyed. They become bankrupt and eventally sell their ancestral farm but the vile reputation follows them. I cannot remember the name anymore but it just stuck in my brain.. And of course, The Crucible is one of the most magnificent plays ever. But anyway, I don’t think all this applies to Jon – I do think he is guilty. And n deportation to India pls, keep that filth in a Texan jail.

  3. Kokonad

    September 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Aah, I was waiting for you to write about this! 🙂
    What’s with the mother, though? Weird.

  4. Piyush

    September 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    he better tape that soap to his hand when he is in prison.

  5. sraboneyghose

    September 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    This is the classic story of success getting to one’s head…59 counts – that’s a lot…I’m sure there’s some truth to the accusations…I remember Sanjana Jon had come to India and had appealed to the Indian govt. to help – why should they? If Anand Jon has done the crime, he should do the time…

  6. sachita

    September 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    First, it is awesome that you are following this piece to its conclusion, i hate it when people just talk about hot news (which is usually before the case goes to trial) and drop it when the actual information starts coming in.

    The family’s vehement denial made me slightly suspicious too, but as some one else said 59 is a huge number.

    I dont remember which one of the links said so, but the morality of the victim is a question here too? I thought that happened only in India. All kinds of roundabout things are cited as evidences for these cases.. Like shiney ahuja’s lawyer brought in caste equation..

    is it because rape is hard to prove?

    • pitu

      September 2, 2009 at 12:14 am

      Shiney’s lawyer brought up CASTE??!! Speechless! :-/

  7. apu

    September 2, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Amrita, Anand Jon’s sister appeared on CNN IBN yesterday, trying to drum up sympathy in India – although her ridiculous accusations are only likely to make people think that Anand is indeed guilty. And why she thinks the Indian govt. should intervene is beyond me. It is somehow very hard to believe that 13 different women are all ok with making false charges and letting an innocent man rot in jail.

  8. ramesh

    September 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    @apu – precisely

  9. Amrita

    September 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Memsaab – Thats what they said at one point. Also NY, Texas, and Florida if I remember correctly. I wonder where in Texas and MA though – I understand the others: NYC, LA, Miami. Texas and MA just makes him really committed.

    Pitu – I couldn’t believe it when they trotted out The Crucible defense! And then the insanity just kept mounting till by this point its pretty much Jesus’ fault Jon’s in prison.

    Koke – uske paas Maa hai!

    Piyush – with that long hair and all….

    Sachita – I had half a mind not to write about this latest bout but then I figured I’d see it through. There is always a certain amount of victim blaming that the defense tries to get away with but its usually a lot more subtle than what the Alexanders have been doing. I think there was an episode of that James Woods show, Shark, which said it best – you never want to victimize the victim all over again in front of the jury by blaming them to the point where the jury feels bad for them. Printing out flyers calling them prostitutes and saying the kind of stuff mentioned on Apu’s blog is not very clever.
    Also, seriously? caste?! Wow. Sleazebag triple squared.

    Bones, Apu & Ramesh – well according to one of her incoherent rants, she thinks the Indian govt should do something because A) the Indian embassy called up the Newark airport and told them SRK was not a terrorist and B) Bill Clinton brought back Euna Lee and Lisa Ling. Srsly.

  10. nsfw

    September 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Lawyers are parasites. Period. Sometimes lynching makes sense to me. 🙂

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