Feb 8, 2013 12:54 AM by Jacqui Heinrich,

Iraqi national found guilty on some charges associated with gang rape case

A verdict has been reached in the case against an Iraqi national accused in connection with what Colorado Springs police call a brutal rape case. Yasir Jabbar Jasim, 21, was found guilty on two misdemeanor counts of false reporting and not guilty on three of four counts of accessory to rape. The jury was hung on the first count.

Jasim was accused as of being an accessory to rape, compromising the crime scene, and lying to police after a woman was violently raped at a Colorado Springs apartment complex in July 2012. Jasim was accused of watching two friends assault the woman, failing to intervene, as well as cleaning up blood after the attack and lying to police under interrogation. Jasim is one of five Iraqi men who immigrated to the United States with the U.S. military's assistance after aiding U.S. troops at war.

Jasim now faces possible deportation over the false reporting misdemeanors he was found guilty of. His defense team is asking for leniency in his sentencing.

Jasim's defense team brought in an Iraqi expert as a witness to discuss reasons why Jasim lied to police under interrogation; they say his response came from a mortal fear of law enforcement. In Iraq, police brutality and corruption run rampant, the witness said, and Jasim was just trying to protect himself. The defense also reported that Jasim suffers from PTSD, a brain injury, and attention deficit disorder, all which they claim factored into his conduct under pressure.

News 5's Jacqui Heinrich interviewed a member of the jury, Kristi Pheiffer, asking if she believed Jasim's fear of police truly affected his ability to accurately report the incident. Pheiffer said, "It's hard to say, I think they're all kind of lying. It's hard to know who said this and who said that, it's hard to know what he had to go through in Iraq." Pheiffer also said the reason the jury was hung on the first count of accessory to rape was because it was difficult to determine through all the legal jargon to what extent, if any, Jasim was guilty.

Jasim's defense attorney, Phil Dubois, told Heinrich, "Yassir was by no means responsible for any of the terrible things that happened to that woman, not even close. He was there and he didn't tell the truth about it afterwards. Had he, he wouldn't have been prosecuted for anything."

Jasim is due back in court on Monday; he could be sentenced to several months in prison for those misdemeanors, or the District Attorney could elect to re-try his case because the jury couldn't come to a conclusion on the first count of accessory. Jasim served several months of jail time while awaiting trial; that time could be deducted from any sentence he is served.

Another defendant in this case cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against the other men. The three remaining defendants await trial.


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