BY BRADEN CARTWRIGHT
Daily Post Staff Writer
A trial is underway for a French national accused of trying to rape and kidnap a woman on the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View.
Michael Adonis, 33, allegedly pulled his victim behind a utility box next to the trail, and then wrestled her phone away when she tried to call 911.
He then tackled her face down in the dirt, pulled down her yoga pants, punched her repeatedly in the face and strangled her almost to the point of unconsciousness, according to police.
The attack happened on Feb. 25, 2019. Adonis was arrested four days later at an Airbnb after he slapped his roommate and officers saw wounds on his hands, police said.
Opening arguments took place on Monday in front of a 12-member jury and Judge Elizabeth Peterson in San Jose.
Deputy District Attorney Brian King is prosecuting the case, and Deputy Alternate Defender Patrick Hoopes is defending Adonis.
Hoopes filed a motion asking Peterson to exclude evidence that Adonis, who is Black, searched for interracial and consensual pornography in the hours before the attack.
Showing the jury this evidence “risks the danger of appealing to the historically popular stereotype that black males are hyper-sexual predators frequently on the prowl for women generally, and specifically for white women,” Hoopes said, noting the “peculiar history” of race relations in the United States.
Hoopes also moved to dismiss evidence that Adonis was a difficult roommate at the Airbnb where he was staying while looking for a tech job.
The trial should take three to four weeks, King said. Adonis faces life in prison if he is convicted.