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Physical Description Disputed by Holden : Trial: Councilman testifies he is not circumcised. Harassment accuser's attorneys deny she ever said he was.

November 17, 1995|JODI WILGOREN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden on Thursday testified in open court about the most intimate details of his anatomy, telling Superior Court Judge Raymond D. Mireles that his penis is not circumcised.

After the 66-year-old lawmaker recounted his birth at home in Macon, Ga., defense attorney Skip Miller asked his client, "Were you circumcised at that time?"

"No sir," Holden replied.

"Have you been circumcised since then?" Miller continued.

"No sir," the councilman responded.

The testimony was intended to mar the credibility of former receptionist Marlee M. Beyda, who is suing Holden and the city for sexual harassment in part based on allegations that Holden tried to force her into oral sex and made her touch his penis during a series of after-hours visits to his Marina del Rey apartment.

A psychiatrist testified Wednesday that Beyda told him Holden is circumcised, but Beyda's attorneys denied she ever said that. On the stand, Beyda said only that she had seen Holden's penis but had not noticed any distinguishing marks.

As the monthlong trial neared a close Thursday, Holden reiterated his denial of Beyda's most serious allegations, this time under questioning by Assistant City Atty. Wilma Pinder. At one point, Pinder scolded her client for smiling on the stand as they discussed his private parts.

"It's not funny, councilman, this is the whole issue," she snapped.

"I wasn't laughing," Holden said. "I just looked away."

Holden once again denied having any sexual contact or attempted sexual contact with Beyda, though he has admitted entertaining her at his apartment at least four times, including once for a midnight massage when he had a migraine.

"At any time was your penis exposed to Miss Beyda?" Pinder asked.

"No," Holden said.

"At any time did you rub against her to stimulate yourself?" she asked.

"No, ma'am," the councilman answered.

"At any time did you masturbate near or on Miss Beyda?" Pinder continued.

"No," Holden responded.

Outside court, Pinder erupted in anger, saying that Beyda's recounting of Holden's failed attempts at oral sex and intercourse and his repeated masturbation in her presence is preposterous.

"I think any 16-year-old boy could get farther with Miss Beyda than either of them have testified," she said. "If this man is so powerful and she is so fearful, she never would have gotten out of there unharmed. Adult people don't act like that. They get a lot further."

Earlier Thursday, a former Holden employee said Beyda told her repeatedly that she was happy with her job and grateful to the councilman. Witness Roberta Goldstone said that Beyda never complained about harassment by Holden or other employees and that her demeanor was always "sweet," "happy," and "comfortable with her surroundings."

But Goldstone also said that former staffer Cruz Nunez--one of four named defendants in the lawsuit--perceived himself as a Don Juan and often kissed female staffers' cheeks and hands. She said that behavior, which Beyda contends is harassment, was just a joke.

"I wasn't thrilled, but I wasn't offended," Goldstone said of being kissed by Nunez.

Lawyers have been unable to locate Nunez.

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