Child's mother on stand at 2nd day of Eric Grant trial

LACONIA — Eric Grant's attorney, Emily McLaughlin, continued yesterday to try to discredit the 17-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted at the band leader's home during a New Year's Eve party that happened when she was 10.

After another two hours of cross-examination of the alleged victim, the girl's mother was called to the stand by Asst. Belknap County Prosecutor Carley Ahern, who tried to elicit testimony from regarding any change in the girl's demeanor after the 2006 New Years Eve party and if the girl's relationship with her uncle (Grant) changed.

The state's case against Grant, who is a well-known local country music performer with some national recognition, is that he digitally assaulted the girl while the two were sitting next to each on a couch at the party. The girl never disclosed the assault until she told her therapist about it during a session in April of 2012.

According to her mother, the girl had told her that Grant touched the top of her butt and that it made her uncomfortable.

With no physical evidence except the child's testimony and a few pictures and a video of portions of the evening, McLaughlin needs to poke enough holes in the girl's story to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the nine men and three women who are the jurors that her client raped her with his finger.

Grant has said that he gave the girl a "wedgie" when she passed gas in his face. He has also said the issue was discussed about seven months later when he and his family went to California to visit the girl's family.

The girl's mother testified yesterday that until her daughter's therapist told her about the allegation in April of 2012, she thought that all that had happened was that Grant had touched the top of her butt and he had told the family that he "probably" gave the girl a wedgie.

The girl's mother said the only thing out of the ordinary she remembered about the night of the party was a loud verbal argument between Grant and his wife (her sister). She said she had been drinking but her husband had not.

She testified yesterday that after the argument she noticed her daughter was very upset but she had attributed her discomfort to the fight. She also said that she hadn't spent a lot of time with her daughter that night because she was visiting with her mother (the girl's grandmother) who she said she didn't get to see that often.

She said that until that time, Eric Grant was her daughter's favorite uncle. "Oh she loved him. He was her favorite."

She said that after that night, the girl didn't want to be around her uncle any more.

With the therapist's note excluded from the trial except for impeaching a witness, McLaughlin grilled the mother about Grant's California visit seven months later, a family trip to Jamaica in 2011, and her daughter's visits to the therapist.

Under direct questioning, the mother had testified that her daughter didn't not want to be with Grant, that she "made her" go on the family trip to Jamaica, and that her daughter somewhat stayed away from him during the times the family was together after the 2006 alleged assault.

The mother didn't remember all the details and dates but testified that when she learned about the alleged assault in 2012, mother and daughter were not getting along very well. She said she was concerned primarily about her daughter's marijuana use but was also concerned about her unusually poor grades.

She described her daughter as a good student who got "A"s and "B"s and the occasional "C." She also said that after the therapy, the disclosure, and Grant's divorce from her sister, that mother and daughter got along fine again and are still fine today.

Under cross-examination McLaughlin pressed the alleged victim's mother about what she remembered from that night and the mother said she didn't remember any farting incidents or wedgie incidents.

She also said her daughter slept with her and her husband at her sister's house that night, contradicting the girl's recollection that she stayed upstairs at Grant's in the same bedroom as her grandmother. The family flew back to California on New Year's Day.

When McLaughlin asked if she remembered the pink pajamas the girl remembers wearing, the mother said she did, recalling she thinks she bought them in New Hampshire.

The mother also said she did her daughter's laundry and would have remembered if there was blood on the bottoms or if there was any bloody underwear. She didn't remember packing the clothes the day they flew home.

The girl has testified that she was bleeding from the alleged penetration and there was blood streaks on her pajamas. She also testified that she saw blood when she went to urinate.

The trial continues Thursday morning.