Trials often hinge on the believability of witnesses. When a witness testifies, the criminal defense attorney can attack her or his credibility. Often times, folks’ recollection may not be 100%. Perception may be affected by alcohol. Motivation or bias also plays a part.

When an audio is played or a video is shown, it’s not so easy for a lawyer to attack the credibility of a witness.

In San Diego, the police officer’s trial will end next week. Yesterday, jurors heard an hour of recorded phone calls between him and one of his alleged victims in which the officer admitted to soliciting sexual favors in return for not arresting her for DUI.

This victim made recorded phone calls at the request of investigators in an attempt to gather evidence against Anthony Arevalos, who is accused of fondling the graduate student in the bathroom of a downtown 7-Eleven in March.

“I don’t want to screw her over,” Arevalos said during the recorded call perhaps as he was explaining his reasoning for not arresting her. “I want her to feel satisfied that she gave me something to make me feel good.”

He added: “You handled it very well, very well.”

The plentiful charges stem from a number of incidents involving 7 women he pulled over in the Gaslamp Quarter.

This witness said he stopped her the night of March 8 after a Mardi Gras celebration and claimed she didn’t use a turn signal.

A breath test showed a BAC of .09%, over the limit of .08%.

They had been stopped at Eighth Avenue and G Street too long, and that too many people had seen them there so they should move. He told her to get back into her BMW convertible and follow him to a nearby 7-Eleven. At 7/11, he kept asking her what she would be willing to do to make the DUI go away. Arevalos suggested she give him her panties.

She cried as she told the jury what happened next in the bathroom. Arevalos allegedly followed her inside and blocked the door as she removed her underwear. He allegedly asked to see her breasts and then touched her body before allowing her to dress.

“He was a cop with a badge and a gun. Once in the bathroom, I felt like I had no choice,” she said. “Whatever he said, I had to do. He was the one in charge. He had the power.”

Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson played a surveillance video from the market showing the woman and officer enter and exit the bathroom. Also shown was a text message from Arevalos asking if she had arrived at her job OK and telling her to delete the message.

At the alleged urging of her mother and friends, she reported the encounter to police the next day and recorded two conversations with Arevalos with help from a detective. Arevalos was arrested days later after authorities apparently felt they had some strong evidence.

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