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Trump-Loving Idaho Republican Facing Life In Prison After Being Arrested On Rape Charges

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Aaron von Ehlinger arrested

Republican Aaron von Ehlinger, a former Idaho lawmaker who fled to Central America last month, was arrested Friday afternoon on felony charges of rape and forcible penetration after being extradited to Idaho and booked into the Ada County Jail, Ada County booking records show.

Von Ehlinger, 39, flew to Idaho on Friday from Atlanta, where he had been arrested as a fugitive of justice on Sept. 24, according to jail records. He remained in custody in Clayton County, Georgia until 7:04 a.m. Friday.

The former GOP congressman and fervent defender of Donald Trump is accused of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern after the two allegedly went out to dinner and returned to von Ehlinger’s apartment. The woman, known as Jane Doe, said von Ehlinger held her down and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to the woman’s testimony during an April 28 hearing of the House Ethics and Policy Committee.

He has maintained he is innocent and said the sexual activity was consensual.

Following an investigation by the Boise Police Department, Ada County District Court issued a warrant for von Ehlinger’s arrest on Sept. 9, the Lewiston Tribune first reported.

After the arrest, von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, said the former legislator had been on a pre-planned vacation and not trying to evade law enforcement by leaving the country.

“He asked me because he’s been speaking with family and he understands from social media or media outlets that there’s this perception he was on the run, trying to hide,” Cox said during the Sept. 29 press conference. “That’s absolutely not true.”

Von Ehlinger served in the Legislature for less than one year. Gov. Brad Little appointed von Ehlinger to the Idaho House of Representatives on June 3, 2020, to fill the unexpired seat held by the late Rep. Thyra Stevenson. Von Ehlinger then ran unopposed in the November 2020 general election, where he was elected to a two-year term. He never finished his first session after winning election, as he resigned in April.

If convicted, von Ehlinger could face up to a life sentence and have to register with the Idaho sex offender registry, according to Idaho Code. Every person found guilty of forcible penetration, “shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than life,” according to Idaho Code. Rape is punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year, but imprisonment may be extended to life at the discretion of a district judge, according to state law.

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