Trial begins Tuesday for former Idaho lawmaker accused of rape

Ethics Hearing: Idaho Lawmaker Accused Of Rape Pleads Fifth
Darin Oswald

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 21, 2021, file photo, state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston, attends opening business as the Idaho House of Representatives convenes at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. The Idaho lawmaker facing rape allegations from a 19-year-old intern was previously warned against hitting on women who work at the Statehouse after his colleagues heard complaints from other staffers, according to documents gathered by the Legislature's ethics committee and obtained by The Associated Press. Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, facing rape allegations refused to answer some questions during a legislative ethics hearing Wednesday, April 28, 2021, after his attorney told him to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

BOISE, Idaho — The trial for a former Idaho lawmaker accused of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern begins Tuesday.

Aaron von Ehlinger was a Republican state representative for Lewiston when an intern reported he brought her to his apartment under false pretenses and raped her.

von Ehlinger has denied all wrongdoing and maintains he had consensual sexual contact with the woman.

READ: Former Idaho lawmaker to stand trial on rape charges

A legislative ethics committee found von Ehlinger engaged in “behavior unbecoming” and said they would support a vote to remove him from the Statehouse. von Ehlinger resigned from office before the vote was held.

He resigned in April of 2021, but a warrant for his arrest was not issued until September. Despite the warrant, von Ehlinger did not turn himself into authorities.

Instead, he was arrested as a fugitive of justice in Atlanta after a return flight from Central America. He was then extradited back to Ada County, Idaho.

RELATED: Former Lewiston lawmaker accused of rape extradited from Georgia

von Ehlinger is formally charged with first-degree rape and forcible penetration by use of a foreign object. Both charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison.

READ: Former Lewiston lawmaker pleads not guilty to rape charges

This Associated Press contributed to this report.