A Franklin County jury acquitted Norman McAllister of a charge that he prostituted a tenant living and working on his farm.

The verdict came more than four years after his arrest outside the Statehouse when he was still a state senator. 

The 12-member jury reached its not guilty verdict Wednesday after a one-day trial and one hour of deliberations.  

The verdict is the latest legal twist in a series of cases against McAllister, a former Republican state senator who was charged with several sex crimes in May 2015, which eventually led to his suspension from the Senate.  

The misdemeanor prohibited acts charge decided Wednesday is last case against McAllister.

More serious charges filed against him of sexual assault have either been dropped or ended in acquittals after jury trials.

During the trial Wednesday, the prosecutor described McAllister’s actions akin to a pimp while the ex-lawmaker’s attorney called him an innocent man facing an accuser who needed someone to blame to keep her ex-husband from getting angry at her.

Previous trials on the prohibited acts charges against McAllister dating back as far as 2017 resulted in a conviction later overturned by the Vermont Supreme Court, as well as another that ended in a mistrial earlier this year. 

Franklin County Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie, the prosecutor, told jurors that McAllister prostituted a tenant living on his Highgate Farm to a friend to cover a utility bill debt she owed him.  

“What he said was he has this friend who is going through a divorce,” Lavoie said McAllister told the woman.

“I could send him to you, you could have sex with him, and that would pay for the bill.”

The woman, he added, who had no income and, facing few options to repay that debt, agreed, and she met McAllister’s friend for sex and that debt was covered.  

Robert Katims, McAllister’s attorney, said told the jury the woman’s allegation against McAllister stemmed from her desire to appease her ex-husband, who would be more upset with her if she engaged in prostitution on her own.

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