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Fashion designer's sex case slims down

  • Story Highlights
  • Case still includes 10 accusers, 29 counts
  • Anand Jon was rising star in fashion world when sex charges were filed
  • He has been accused of raping and sexually assaulting aspiring models
  • Some of the alleged victims were underage

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(CNN) -- On the eve of his trial, prosecutors have struck 30 counts from an indictment charging an up-and-coming fashion designer with luring aspiring models via the Internet and sexually assaulting them.

Anand Jon Alexander is scheduled to go on trial in Los Angeles in September.

But Anand Jon Alexander, who uses Anand Jon as his professional name, will stand trial on 29 counts involving 10 alleged victims, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office in Los Angeles, California.

The ages of the alleged victims range from 14 to 21. He denies the charges.

Jury selection is to begin next week. If convicted, Alexander's sentence could range from 122 years to life in prison, Robison said.

"Obviously, it's still a substantial case," Robison said.

Leonard Levine, a lawyer for the 34-year-old Alexander, said the move to drop half of the charges indicates prosecutors had second thoughts. "Obviously we welcome this action." he said. "It's clearly indicative of the fact that they question the credibility of their complaining witnesses."

Sandi Gibbons, another district attorney's spokeswoman, said the move was merely an attempt to streamline a complex case, and that the stricken counts could be renewed at any time.

A Los Angeles grand jury indicted the designer in fall 2007 on 54 felony and five misdemeanor counts, including forcible rape, sexual battery by restraint and lewd acts upon a child, prosecutors said at the time.

At the time of his arrest, Alexander was about to launch a line of jeans and Indian-inspired tops. He also was working on a VH-1 reality show. The Indian-born designer, professionally known as Anand Jon, has worked with Paris and Nicky Hilton, Ivanka Trump, Mary J. Blige and other celebrities, according to published reports.

Prosecutors alleged that Alexander met women online and assaulted them when they visited him in pursuit of modeling opportunities.

Prosecutors called him a sexual predator. His defense attorneys have said he is the victim of thwarted fashionista ambition and the target of an extortion campaign.

"None of the charges are true," attorney Levine said.

"There are a variety of (motives) that will come out at the trial," he added. "Some may have involved economic motive. Some may have involved revenge for not becoming famous actresses and models."

Police say the trouble began with a single sexual encounter during L.A.'s fashion week in March 2007. He allegedly invited a 19-year-old lingerie model from Seattle, Washington, to visit after corresponding with her over the Internet for months.

She told the Beverly Hills police Alexander sexually assaulted her. According to police, other women began to come forward, first in Los Angeles, then in New York and Texas, where he still faces charges.

The 19-year-old and two other original accusers are still a part of the case, Robison said.

The case has received international attention,especially in India, where Alexander's family is well known. In the United States, prayer vigils have been held for him, and his defense has drawn support from celebrities.

All About Sexual OffensesLos Angeles District Attorney's Office

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