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NAHA, Okinawa — The clothing worn by the woman Marine Maj. Michael Brown is accused of trying to sexually assault will be allowed as evidence when his trial resumes Tuesday.

The Fukuoka High Court Naha Branch last week dismissed the prosecution’s appeal of a Naha District Court order that it produce the clothing worn by Victoria Nakamine, 40, on the night she reported Brown had molested her after she offered him a ride.

During a January hearing, prosecutor Tsuyoshi Satake argued that pictures of the clothing were sufficient evidence. Defense attorney Takeshi Takano said a physical examination of the garments would show Nakamine had not been violently attacked, as she claimed in police reports.

Brown is charged with trying to rape Nakamine in the early hours of Nov. 2, 2002, after the woman, who worked at the Camp Courtney officer’s club, offered him a ride to his Gushikawa home after the club closed. She told police he attacked her while they were parked along a deserted road next to the Tengan River.

She later recanted her story and said police and prosecutors coerced her into filing charges against Brown.

The Fukuoka High Court’s ruling means the prosecutor must produce the clothes, including undergarments, Nakamine wore the night of the crime.

Tuesday, however, attention likely will be focused on the defense team’s cross-examination of policewoman Kyoko Yamane, who wept on the stand Jan. 27 while relating how she felt betrayed by Nakamine when the Filipina barmaid eventually said she didn’t want to go to court and had found it in her heart to forgive the 40-year-old Marine.

Yamane told the three-judge panel hearing the case she had sympathized with Nakamine the night she took the woman’s statement and befriended her in the months leading to trial.

She said Nakamine at first was adamant police find and punish the man who attacked her. She said the bar hostess told her, “I was almost raped, I was almost killed, my feet are shaking, I will never forgive him — such a high-ranking officer did this and I want to punish him.”

But the day before the trial began in April, Nakamine met with Yamane and the prosecutor and said she didn’t want to proceed, the policewoman told the court in January. A month later, while testifying, Nakamine recanted her story and said the kissing and fondling in the car was consensual.

Nakamine said when Brown attempted to go further, she complained. She said he stopped and apologized.

— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.


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