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Trial begins for lawyer charged in sex assault at Chicago hotel

Anthony Bergamino / phofrom Cook County Sheriff's office

Anthony Bergamino / photo from the Cook County Sheriff's office

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Updated: February 25, 2014 10:06PM



The young woman was waiting for a visit from a college friend when she said a middle-aged attorney she never met burst into her W Lakeshore Chicago hotel room and sexually assaulted her.

“I’m going to f--- you. You’re so f------ hot,” the woman said Anthony Bergamino repeatedly told her while pining her body down on the bed and kissing her mouth and body in the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2012.

The woman, who took the stand at the start Bergamino’s trial Tuesday, said she could smell the alcohol on the lawyer’s breath and noticed he was slurring his speech as he assaulted her. Authorities contend Bergamino took steps to cover up evidence in the case.

She was able to push him away but Bergamino vowed to come back, the woman from Minnesota told jurors in Cook County Judge Thomas Gainer’s courtroom.

The woman, who was in town for a work conference and Lollapalooza, had just returned from the hotel’s bar after a three-hour dinner at Gibsons with co-workers and friends the night before.

She wanted to meet with one more friend before calling it a night and had propped her hotel door open so her pal could come in easily when he arrived at the Streeterville hotel.

But it was Bergamino who showed up first, she said.

“He walked into my room and got on top of me,” the alleged victim, now 25, said.

The woman denied defense attorneys’ argument that she had met Bergamino in the streets walking back to her hotel, invited him up to her room and eagerly made out with him.

“There was no knock. . . . I did not let him in my room. I did not kiss him,” the woman adamantly said, denying that her interaction with Bergamino was “mutual and voluntary” as defense attorney Juliet Sorensen suggested in her opening arguments.

Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica said Bergamino saw the unlocked door as an “opportunity.”

“Stranger-danger rapists aren’t always lurking in an alley,” the prosecutor said.

“Sometimes they wear suits and trendy glasses.”

The woman’s friend, a former hotel security guard and a police officer all testified Tuesday that she was “crying and hysterical” when she came down to the hotel lobby to report the incident.

Chicago Police Officer Willie Peoples said he escorted the woman back to her room on the 31st floor when he saw Bergamino.

“That’s the guy. That’s the guy,” Peoples said the woman said through tears.

When Peoples said he and his partner approached Bergamino, the lawyer said, “I don’t know this girl. I don’t know her.”

Bergamino rubbed a tube of Carmex lip balm all over his hand while he was handcuffed to the wall at the 18th District police station, Peoples said, corroborating Senica’s assertion that Bergamino was trying to taint evidence.

Bergamino’s hand, Peoples said, resembled a “glazed doughnut.”

Sitting just feet from Bergamino, now 51, the alleged victim said she suffered numerous bruises from the attack and got a complimentary massage at the hotel after she returned from the hospital.

“I couldn’t get my head to relax,” the woman explained.

The woman said she never screamed during the attack and didn’t remember telling a nurse that she did.

When asked why she erased all the text messages between her and her male friend before the attack, the woman said she frequently clears her phone.

Bergamino’s trial will resume on Wednesday.

Email: rhussain@suntimes.com

Twitter: @rummanahussain



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