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Accuser in Navy assault case questioned

WASHINGTON — Defense attorneys for three US Naval Academy midshipmen charged with sexually assaulting a fellow student finished lengthy cross-examination of the woman on Sunday.

She testified that Josh Tate, one of the men charged in the case, told her that the two had sex after an April 2012 party where she had been drinking heavily. She says that during a subsequent phone call he said he’d only been kidding.

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Tate, 21; Eric Graham, 21; and Tra’ves Bush, 22, are accused of sexually assaulting the woman at an alcohol-fueled off-campus party.

The woman has testified that she has no memory of having sex with any of the three men. She has said she learned of what happened after hearing gossip that she had slept with multiple partners at the house where football players gathered.

An attorney for Tate replayed a brief recorded telephone conversation between the woman and Tate that occurred roughly a week after the party. In that call, the woman asks Tate to tell Navy investigators nothing happened between them. She said in the call that she hated to ask him to lie, but that she did not want the case to go forward.

Tate can be heard responding that what she was saying ‘‘ain’t cool.’’

Bush and Tate are charged with aggravated sexual assault. Graham is charged with abusive sexual contact. A hearing to determine whether the three men will face a court-martial began Tuesday at the Washington Navy Yard.

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