Jury selection in The Propofol Rape Case (our title for this saga going forward) began yesterday in a courtroom at the Cass County Courthouse in Fargo, ND. Dr Jon Norberg, 41, an orthopedic surgeon, is accused of injecting his wife Alonna, also a physician, with the powerful sedative/anesthetic propfol dozens of times over the course of 18 months and then having sex with her unconscious body. Ms. Norberg says this was done without her consent. Search the term “Norberg” in the search box at the left on this page for the full story so far.
As the defense questioned the 59 prospective jury candidates it became clear that they likely intend to paint the victim as a woman scorned, who in them midst of a pending divorce, and suffering from mental illness, accused her husband of drugging and rapping her when she had in fact consented to being drugged and having her body used as an amusement park.
“Does it matter what their thinking is two weeks later if their signals at the time were ‘yes?’” defense attorney Robert Hoy asked jurors. He also asked them whether they have ever had a bad break-up with a significant other, whether having sex with an intoxicated spouse can be considered rape, and whether someone close t0 them has ever had a psychiatric condition.
Norberg is charged with gross sexual imposition — a Class AA felony carrying up to life in prison — and reckless endangerment for allegedly drugging his wife with propofol and engaging in sexual acts with her while she was unconscious.
He was charged in August 2011, one month after his wife filed for divorce. To avoid the risk of trial, Norberg pleaded no contest on Jan. 3 to the Class C felony reckless endangerment charge and a reduced misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, but he later withdrew the pleas after it became apparent they would affect the divorce case, which is set for trial on Jan. 14. His plea agreement would have resulted in a far lighter potential jail sentence as a Class C Felony carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. He also could have been sentenced to probation alone. It appears that Norberg would prefer to risk life in prison rather than have his wife get the better of him in divorce proceedings.
Alonna Norberg, a pediatric emergency medicine physician, somehow remained with her husband while over the course of 18 months he injected her over and over with propofol. Jon Norberg claims the injections were consensual as unapproved, medically unjustified treatment for her chronic pain and an auto-immune medical condition. It is unclear at this point whether Alonna will claim she consented to propofol injections for any purpose, and, if so, how many instances of rape she is alleging. No matter how you slice it, neither party is completely, or well hinged in Law Med’s view.