Much of the third day of the trial of Charles McGee and Aubre Dickson, who are accused of sexually assaulting Erica Naito-Campbell on May 10, 2012, consisted of Stephen Houze, Dickson's attorney, trying to cast doubt on Naito-Campbell's motivation for coming forward, rather than attacking the authenticity of her story.

Houze, one of the state's premier defense lawyers, did not contest that Dickson, a banker and ex-chairman of the Oregon Housing Stability Council, was with Naito-Campbell the night of the alleged incident, along with McGee, the founder and former CEO of the Black Parent Initiative.

And he never disputed Naito-Campbell's allegations that first McGee, then both men, assaulted her that night at McGee's home.

Instead, Houze focused on text messages between Naito-Campbell, 38, and Danielle Winterhalter, a public relations specialist.

Winterhalter began advising Naito-Campbell prior to the a Feb. 7, 2018 story in WW in which Naito-Campbell first gave the first public account of her alleged assault. (She had previously called a rape-crisis hotline and told therapists and friends, but not the police.) Houze suggested that her real reason for going public with the story was her desire for fame.

Houze also focused his questions on the nature of Naito-Campbell's relationship with Dickson, 44, a married father of three.

"You were rather regularly texting with Mr. Dickson," Houze said. "You also had frank sexual conversations with him."

Houze pressed Naito-Campbell, suggesting that she should have told Dickson's wife about her relationship with Dickson.

"You were his secret friend, weren't you?" Houze asked.

Naito-Campbell testified there was nothing secret about their friendship, noting that she and Dickson went to public events together, including a Japanese New Year event where they met each other's families.

And Naito-Campbell, added, she didn't think it was her responsibility to tell Dickson's wife about the friendship.

"I had no idea what she knew," Naito-Campbell testified. "I didn't talk to her."

After Houze finished his cross examination in the late morning, prosecutor Amity Girt disputed Houze's argument that Naito-Campbell was interested in fame. She also produced the most dramatic moment of the day, a letter that Naito-Campbell sent in 2015 to Dickson.

Erica Naito-Campbell testifies in Multnomah County Circuit Court on March 13, 2019. (Aimee Green / The Oregonian/
Erica Naito-Campbell testifies in Multnomah County Circuit Court on March 13, 2019. (Aimee Green / The Oregonian/

The letter was written not long after McGee publicly explored a run for a Portland City Council seat.  In the letter, Naito-Campbell urged Dickson to advise McGee not to run, writing that if he did she would come forward with the story of what she says happened in May 2012.

"You may have thought it was all in the past, that the wrong you committed would be erased with time," Naito-Campbell wrote to Dickson in October 2015. "You violated so much that night. I believed that you were a good person. I believed that if Charles tried anything, you would step in and protect me. I never would have been there otherwise."

"You betrayed me," Girt read from Naito-Campbell's letter. "How could you stand there listening to me say 'no' over and over and DO NOTHING? A stray dog would have stepped in to protect me. I SAID NO (emphasis from the letter)."

"You tried to jam your penis inside me even as I begged you not to do it," the letter continued. "You robbed me of my dignity. You robbed me of my sense of self. You took everything you had no right to take."

A little less than a month after Naito-Campbell sent Dickson the letter, McGee issued a public statement on Nov. 12, 2015.

"After months of reflection, conversation with family, friends and mentors, my wife and I have decided that now is not the time to run for public office," McGee said then.

As Girt read the 2015 letter, Naito-Campbell cried loudly on the witness stand. Judge David Rees then called for a lunch recess and a sobbing Naito-Campbell strode rapidly to the witness room.

The testimony unfolded in front of Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge David Rees (both defendants waived a jury trial). The mood in the jam-packed court-room on Friday was tense—supporters of Naito-Campbell and the two defendants bickered over seats—and emotional, as members of Naito-Campbell's family and supporters of hers broke into tears on more than one occasion.

Naito-Campbell has previously stated that she never wanted to come forward and never sought attention but when McGee began raising money for his candidacy for Multnomah County Commission in late 2017, she felt she had to act. That's when she contacted WW.

An email she wrote to WW in late 2017, introduced as evidence on Friday, shows she announced her motivation from the start.

"As he has decided to run for Multnomah County Commissioner, I cannot sit idly by and allow him to get elected," Naito-Campbell wrote to WW in a Nov. 7, 2018 email with the subject line "Charles McGee."

"At your earliest convenience, I would like to meet with you to tell you why he is unfit for office."

Charles McGee in Multnomah County Circuiy Court on March 14, 2019. (Aimee Green, The Oregonian/
Charles McGee in Multnomah County Circuiy Court on March 14, 2019. (Aimee Green, The Oregonian/

Naito-Campbell briefly returned to the stand after a mid-day recess. The state then began calling a series of support witnesses.

The first, Allison Gilman, a high school friend of of Naito-Campbell, who now lives near Boston, told of an 88-minute phone call on May 16, 2012, four days after the alleged assault, during which Naito-Campbell told Gilman about the assault.

She said Naito-Campbell, formerly outgoing and highly social, changed dramatically after the alleged event. She was subject to frequent panic attacks and secluded herself in her parents' home.

"This devastated her," Gilman testified.

The final witness of the day, Lesley Alter, a therapist who first saw Naito-Campbell 10 days after the alleged assault, testified that Naito-Campbell told her about the incident in their first meeting.

She further testified that Naito-Campbell gave her several reasons that she had not reported the alleged assault to police: a desire to avoid publicity; a desire to shield her then-12-year-old son from the incident; a desire to avoid fueling a racially-charged narrative; and a belief that "victims don't have rights."

Alter testified, however, that Naito-Campbell told her there was one scenario in which she would come forward.

"If either man would run for public office," Alter testified, "she would report."

The trial will resume Monday at 9 am.