Dr. Jon Norberg is guilty of drugging his wife, Alonna, against her will with the intravenous anesthetic agent propofol and then raping her. That is the only reasonable conclusion if yesterday’s incredible testimony is to be believed…..and I think it is.
Alonna Norberg’s father, Robert Knorr, took the stand for the prosecution on Wednesday and shocked even the judge with his testimony. Knorr told the courtroom that he was in Fargo for a North Dakota State University football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, when he learned through a family member that Jon Norberg wanted to meet with him. They spoke briefly at the game and agreed to meet at 11 a.m. the next day at Mexican Village in south Fargo. This was a week before the criminal trail began.
Under questioning from prosecutor Gary Euren, Knorr said that Jon Norberg told him at the meeting that he “wanted to visit about the trial that we’re in now.” “He said that he thought that this would be very harmful to the children and to the families, and I agreed with him, and I said, ‘Jon, as far as I see it, there’s nothing that we can do.’ ”
Knorr also said Norberg told him he wanted a “global settlement” to resolve the criminal matter, the couple’s divorce case and a civil case that Robert Knorr had filed against Jon Norberg in February regarding a dispute over a house Knorr owns in McLean County, ND. “He had written down on a slip of paper that Alonna was the only one who could stop this. And I said, ‘Well, how would she do that?’ And he said, well, she could either say that it was a dream or that she was lying or that she didn’t remember, and the trial could be stopped.”
Note that Norberg did NOT simply suggest his estranged wife tell the truth to put an end to his criminal prosecution, but rather suggested three options, all of which involved telling mutually exclusive tales. It was a dream, she was lying, or she cannot remember the events. EACH suggestion carries the obvious and clear implication that Alonna Norberg’s claims against him are in fact true….and he knows they are true. THIS is why beyond a reasonable doubt Norberg is guilty as far as Law Med is now concerned. And while it is generally folly to make a determination as an observer in a criminal trial before the defense has even had a chance to call a single witness, in Law Med’s view the ONLY thing that can save Norberg now is a credible witness taking the stand for the defense and testifying that Mrs. Norberg told them her accusations were false and that she made them in order to discredit her husband and obtain child custody. Or perhaps a diary written in her own hand detailing the plot against her husband.
The defense has asserted that the accusations are made up by Alonna for precisely that reason: To place Jon Norberg in a bad light in their divorce proceedings and to obtain custody of their children. But Law Med would bet the farm that no such devastating testimony is in the offing. The meeting with the father in law, which the defense does not deny in the least, is as close to proof of guilt this case can get. And there was more:
Knorr said Norberg “suggested that we would either talk to his attorney or find another criminal attorney and they could tell us what we would have to do” to stop the trial. “I told him that there was no way that that was going to happen that I could see,” Knorr said. According to Knorr, Norberg also said “any consequences” from the trial could affect his ability to regain his medical license, which the state Board of Medical Examiners suspended indefinitely in January.
“And that would affect his family how?” Euren asked.
“He wouldn’t be able to support them,” Knorr said.
Norberg is delusional if he thinks he will be getting his medical license back any time soon, if ever. Even if acquitted of the criminal charges, expect the Board to take further action based on his poor medical judgment of administering propofol to a family member in their home without proper monitoring, any documentation or medical record keeping, and for a not medically indicated reason.
Even The Judge Was Stunned
Outside the presence of the jury, Jon Norberg’s attorney, Robert Hoy, tried to keep them from hearing Knorr’s testimony. He tried a desperate, but creative argument that it was inadmissible as a protected conversation because it was an offer to compromise or resolve ongoing litigation. But while that might fly in a civil case it does not when the parties talking are the accuser and a representative (if Knorr even was) of the accused in a criminal matter. And the judge was having none of it.
Judge Douglas Herman dismissed that argument and countered that the jury could believe it was an effort by Jon Norberg to obstruct a criminal prosecution and therefore was admissible. The judge was infuriated with the attorneys about the testimony, saying it was the first he’d heard of it and calling it “quite a bombshell that’s being delivered to me now.” Hoy said the defense knew Knorr was going to be called as a witness but did not know he was going to testify about a meeting between himself and their client.
Herman said he was “shocked” that the meeting and conversation between Jon Norberg and Knorr happened. “I wouldn’t have guessed in a hundred years that this would have happened, in part because you’ve done such a grade-A-plus job in your representation,” he said to Hoy. “Why would your client do something that is just so bizarre, such incredibly bad judgment?” Herman asked. “He’s charged with a double-A felony. Why would he do this? Why would he do this, create this problem?”
While Law Med agrees that the testimony is shocking and quite extraordinary, the incredulity of the judge is a bit over done. No one had any duty to discuss the content of this witness’s testimony with the judge beforehand. And the prosecution would not want to tip their hand by doing so. Prosecutors did not have to reveal to the defense that Knorr would testify as to the content of discussion of his meeting with Norberg. After all their client was a party to that discussion. It is unclear however if Norberg ever even mentioned the meeting to his attorneys. One gets the feeling that Jon Norberg is the type who thinks he is the smartest person in the room, regardless of the room he is in. The same sense of entitlement that led him to withdraw his guilty plea deal with prosecutors for a greatly reduced sentence when he learned it would hurt him in his divorce case would be responsible for his thinking he could meet with his father in law in an attempt to influence his accuser without consequence. State’s Attorney Birch Burdick later declined to comment on the possibility Jon Norberg could face additional criminal charges for obstruction.
More From Alonna
Earlier in the day Wednesday, before her father put the court into shock, Alonna Norberg was back on the stand and Hoy attempted to show the jury she had ulterior motives in accusing her husband. He asked her if she knew that making the allegations would benefit her in the couple’s divorce case and also in a heretofore unpublicized malpractice suit she is bringing against her husband. The divorce complaint, which was filed by Alonna, is dated July 6, 2011, the day after she first went to Fargo police with her allegations that her husband drugged and raped her on the night of June 16-17, 2011. The divorce case is set for trial January 14, 2013.
“Are you aware that a conviction of your husband in this case will result in you getting custody of the children in your divorce case?” Hoy asked.
“Mr. Hoy, I don’t know how this case will relate to the next case. This case is about this case. It’s about what happened between Jon and I. Leave the children out of it,” Alonna Norbeg shot back.
Hoy showed her a summons for the malpractice suit that was prepared on her behalf by her attorney, who is also her divorce attorney. The malpractice complaint names Jon Norberg and his co-workers as defendants, has not yet been filed yet in Cass County District Court. It seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.
Hoy:“Are you aware that a conviction of your husband in this case would be of assistance to you in your malpractice case against him?”
Hoy: “You think they’re completely disconnected?”
Norberg: “I’m not a lawyer. I don’t understand all of that. I know we’re here for this reason, and the other reason, the malpractice case, is because of what happened to my body, and so I’d prefer to leave them separate and I can’t make that kind of transfer.”
Alonna Norberg also was questioned about a July 5th, the same day she met with police for the first time, affidavit she signed seeking a domestic violence protection order against her husband. Hoy asked her if she knew from reviewing state law that if she made allegations of domestic violence, specifically of “sexual activity compelled by force”, that she would get a court order giving her temporary possession of the couple’s home and custody of their three children.
Norberg: “Requesting the protection order had nothing to do with any of that. There was protection for myself because of what he had done”.
Hoy: “So you have, at least so far, managed to turn the tables on your husband, have you not?”
On redirect, prosecutor Gary Euren asked about an appointment she had with her psychologist on April 14, 2011, during which they discussed her marital problems, including an incident around St. Patrick’s Day in 2011 during which she claims her husband performed…well…let’s just say a non-consensual sex act she had previously said she was opposed to doing. Her father testified later that she called him distraught about that incident it afterward.
She said divorce came up during the April 14th discussion with the psychologist, which is an important point for the prosecution as it counters the defendant’s previous claim, which was made very publicly to the press, that it was he who first threatened divorce which he claims ultimately led to her allegations.
Alonna Norberg said she she was then contemplating divorce because “specifically that I was fearful of him. I was scared, and he was so verbally abusive and psychologically abusive that I felt like he made me feel like I was going crazy, and I was scared.” She said she told her psychologist she didn’t want a divorce however because “I wanted our children to have a mom and a dad.”
Elizabeth Olson, executive director of the First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center and a trained advocate for sexual assault victims for 20 years also took the stand o help explain why Alonna Norberg didn’t report the alleged assault on June 16-17 to police until more than two weeks later. The defense has made hay of the fact that she waited so long despite the fact that Alonna Norberg is a physician who helped write guidelines for law enforcement and health care workers in collecting evidence of sexual assaults and knows that time is of the essence if evidence is to be collected. The fact that she waited for two weeks before reporting the event to police is a convenient circumstance of her story the defense claims.
Olsen told the jury “They get so focused on the assault and the crisis afterward that they have difficulty concentrating and remembering. The closer and more involved the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, the less likely that person is to report (the assault), or the less likely they are to report immediately,” she said.
Jon Norberg is charged with gross sexual imposition, a Class AA felony punishable by up to life in prison upon conviction, and Class C felony reckless endangerment carrying a maximum penalty of five years.
Visit our new Norberg Trial page which has all of our articles covering this story since it began HERE.
Sources for this article include INFORUM.