Turner’s lawyers have filed an appeal in which they say his trial was “a detailed and lengthy set of lies.”
Handout . / Reuters
Brock Turner, who served just three months in prison after being convicted last year of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in January 2015, filed a motion in court Friday to have his conviction overturned.
Records show that Turner’s legal team filed their appeal in California’s 6th District Court of Appeal. According to the motion, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, his lawyers argue that his trial had been “a detailed and lengthy set of lies.”
They are requesting a new trial in hopes of overturning his convictions, which require him to become a permanently registered sex offender.
The lawyers argue the jury did not see sufficient evidence to represent Turner’s character, and that the jury was not permitted to consider a lower-level offense.
They are also arguing that the assault did not occur “behind the dumpster,” but rather a “completely open setting,” according to court documents, and that the jury received “extensive ‘behind-the-dumpster’ propaganda.”
“What we are saying that what happened is not a crime,” John Tompkins, Turner’s legal adviser, told NBC. “It happened, but it was not anywhere close to a crime.”
Turner’s lawyers did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Turner leaving jail in September 2016
Stephen Lam / Reuters
Turner was convicted in June 2016 of three counts of sexual assault: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating a woman with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious woman with a foreign object.
The “Stanford University swimmer,” as he became widely known, received national outrage when Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to just six months in jail out of fear that harsher punishment would have a “severe impact” on him.
At the trial, the woman Turner was convicted of assaulting read aloud a powerful letter in which she said she believed “he has failed to exhibit sincere remorse or responsibility for his conduct.” The letter received widespread attention when the woman provided it to BuzzFeed News for publication.
However, Persky said he believed Turner had shown a “genuine feeling of remorse” and that deciding whether adequate remorse was shown was “one of the most conflicted and difficult issues in this case.”
Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor who chaired a campaign to recall Persky from the bench, blasted the motion filed by Turner’s attorneys and said the former student had received a fair trial.
“The jury heard the evidence and decisively rejected Turner’s efforts to blame the victim,” she said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “The problem with this case wasn’t that Judge Persky was unfair to Brock Turner, it was that Judge Persky was unfair to the victim when he sentenced Turner to only a few months in county jail.”
Despite having faced 14 years in a state prison, Turner was released from county jail in September 2016 for good behavior after serving just three months.
“The idea that this result was somehow unfair to Turner is ridiculous,” Dauber said.
Persky was later found to have gone easy with a sentencing arrangement for another student athlete convicted of domestic abuse, and was removed from a sexual assault case after the Santa Clara district attorney questioned whether he could treat it fairly.