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Lawyer: Saudi man arrested in teen rape too drunk to waive Miranda rights


Leila Navidi

Mazen Alotaibi appears in Las Vegas Justice Court for a hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Updated Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 | 2:35 p.m.

Mazen Alotaibi Hearing

Mazen Alotaibi appears in Las Vegas Justice Court for a hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, January 17, 2013. Alotaibi is charged with burglary, first degree kidnapping, two counts of sexual assault with a minor and sexually motivated coercion. Launch slideshow »

The defense attorney for a Saudi air force sergeant charged with raping a teenage boy on the Las Vegas Strip says he plans to file a motion to prevent his client’s interrogation by police from being used as evidence.

Mazen Alotaibi, 23, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday in Las Vegas Justice Court, meaning his case will proceed to District Court. His first appearance there will be Feb. 6.

During Thursday’s brief hearing, prosecutors also amended a criminal complaint to add two counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14. Those are on top of existing charges of sexual assault of a minor under 14 years of age, first-degree kidnapping and coercion.

In light of the additional counts, Justice of the Peace William Kephart increased Alotaibi’s bail by $500,000, bringing the total to $1.72 million.

Outside the courtroom, Alotaibi’s defense attorney, Don Chairez, said he believes his client was too intoxicated to fully understand and then consent to giving up his Miranda rights when interviewed by police the day of his arrest.

“It’s blatantly obvious my client was under the influence,” Chairez said, referring to a police video of the interrogation. “His eyes are red and bloodshot...We believe the legal research shows somebody who is totally intoxicated is incapable of giving up his rights.”

Chairez also pointed to Alotaibi's language barrier as an additional source of confusion.

Alotaibi, whose native language is Arabic, told detectives, "I don't understand" as they were explaining his rights before the interrogation, Chairez said.

Chairez is seeking results of blood taken from Alotaibi at the time of arrest, which he suspects would show a high blood-alcohol concentration.

Metro Police allege Alotaibi admitted during an interview with detectives to performing two sexual acts on the boy, although he labeled one incident an accident, according to the arrest report.

The incident happened New Year’s Eve when Alotaibi allegedly made contact with the victim, a 13-year-old boy visiting Las Vegas, while he was walking down a hallway at the Circus Circus casino, the arrest report states.

Alotaibi allegedly forced the boy into his room, where he sexually assaulted him, according to the arrest report. The boy eventually escaped and notified hotel security, police said.

Chairez and prosecutors Chief Deputy District Attorneys Mary Kay Holthus and James Sweetin danced around questions about the case possibly heading toward a negotiation.

“Who knows,” Chairez said.

Sweetin said the prosecution and defense have not received all evidence, some of which still is being analyzed or transcribed.

Chairez said he would like to review video from the hotel, as well as try to ascertain what the alleged victim did immediately after leaving Alotaibi’s room. The defense believes the boy gave authorities conflicting stories, he said.

“My philosophy is haste makes waste,” Chairez said. “Because of the seriousness of the charges, I don’t want to rush anything.”

The defense contends the boy followed Alotaibi and his group of friends, wanted to buy marijuana and then offered to perform sexual acts for money.

The boy told police he went to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop after escaping Alotaibi’s room so he could calm down before notifying authorities, according to the arrest report.

Alotaibi, shackled at his hands and feet, appeared in court wearing standard blue jail attire. He remained silent, except when quietly discussing his case, through a court interpreter, with Chairez.

Alotaibi had been temporarily stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and was vacationing in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.

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