An Alexandria woman testified yesterday that for four hours in the middle of the night last November she did everything she could think of to talk Robert Jeffrey Lujan, son of Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr., out of raping her.
"I told him 'I'm a mother, and I have two children. How would you feel if your mother was in this situation?' " the 48-year-old woman said in the first day of a Circuit Court rape trial of Lujan.
Lujan, 28, was charged Dec. 3 with breaking into the woman's apartment in northeast Alexandria in the early morning hours of Nov. 11 and threatening her with a shotgun before raping her. If convicted on all counts, Lujan would face a minimum prison term of 22 years.
Members of Lujan's family, including his father, were present for yesterday's proceedings but were asked to leave the courtroom because they are potential witnesses for the defense. The defense team, which has argued that the sex was consensual, is expected to begin its side of the case today.
Robert Stanley Powell, one of Lujan's attorneys, took a strong offensive during the cross-examination of the alleged victim, at one point telling Circuit Court Judge Alfred D. Swersky that the woman's "whole story is fabricated."
Powell accused the woman of contacting lawyers about a possible civil suit after she learned that her alleged assailant's father was an affluent Cabinet member.
"When you learned that Jeff Lujan was the son of Interior Secretary Lujan didn't you think that there was the possibility of a civil cuit and that there was a possibility to recover some money?" asked Powell. Early during Powell's questioning, the witness acknowledged that she owed money for a business that she owned and that failed.
The woman denied any such motive. She also denied Powell's suggestion that details of the story she told police were culled from John Updike's "Rabbit Redux," a novel that she said she was reading around the time the incident occurred.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Cary S. Greenburg said in his opening statement that the woman had never met or seen Lujan until she woke up and found him armed and naked on the edge of her bed at 4:30 a.m.
Greenburg said Lujan, who has seven convictions for driving while intoxicated, was drunk the night he allegedly broke into the woman's apartment and "held her captive" for over four hours before forcing her to submit to different sex acts.
Charles Munn, a prosecution witness who said he has known Lujan for some time, testified that he had previously seen Lujan after Lujan had been drinking and that "he is a different person" on those occasions.
The alleged victim, on the stand for over three hours, told the jury that she was terrified by the intruder and the shotgun he carried. She said she never tried to flee or scream because she feared he would harm her. She added that the two smoked cigarettes, shared pistachios and talked calmly as she tried to win his confidence and persuade him to leave.
The woman said her efforts ultimately failed.
"He said, 'I'm not going to ask you anymore to take your clothes off, I'm telling you to take your clothes off,' " the woman testified.
She said she was so horrified that she tried to hide her face so that she would not have to watch the assault. "He wanted me to put my arms around him and embrace him, and I wouldn't do it," she said. "I took a pillow off my bed and put it over my face."