Former South Bend Mayor on Trial in Sexual Assault Case: ‘I’m Not Here Because I’m Guilty’

Delivering an impassioned plea before a packed courtroom on Friday, former Naval officer and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg detailed his efforts to prove he is not guilty of charges he sexually assaulted a fellow officer in 2003. “I’m not here because I’m guilty,” said Buttigieg, who is the first openly gay man to be elected as a major-party presidential candidate.

Mr. Buttigieg closed his nearly hour-long testimony by ending his humble words with: “I’m a regular person. There’s just a lot to be upset about.”

The “regular person” he’s referring to is Mr. Buttigieg, who became the 34th President of the United States if elected to the highest office in the land.

Later Friday, members of the National Association of Police Organizations weighed in, per The Washington Post:

“Mr. Buttigieg is aware that he was a leader in training young men and women to effectively engage with individuals in society for whom it is no longer safe to do so. He is a true example to our nation’s law enforcement officers, and [he] has not yet proven to be one of them.”

Mr. Buttigieg, who is currently a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, maintained that the consensual sex between him and the woman in question was not the sort of assault for which he is being charged.

Instead, Mr. Buttigieg characterized the charges as a politically motivated, indirect attack on the LGBTQ community. To Mr. Buttigieg, the accusations leveled against him would constitute evidence of a “political witch hunt.”

He noted that if he were to serve in the White House, he would be the third sitting openly gay president — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the other two.

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