An Alameda County jury recently found a man guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in an apparent date-rape plot six years ago that included transferring the partially conscious victim between multiple cars from a San Francisco nightclub to his home in Dublin.
Ahmad Azizi, 38, was convicted of one felony count of forcible rape following a trial in mid-August that also featured testimony from another woman who said she was raped by him under similar circumstances nearly 20 years ago. The jury needed just two hours of deliberations to reach its verdict, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
"It takes a lot of bravery for a victim of sexual assault to come forward and tell 12 strangers what happened to them on the worst night of their life. It is entirely due to the bravery of both victims who testified in this case that the jury returned a verdict of guilty and justice was served," deputy district attorney Jason Quinn, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement to the Weekly.
Azizi, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to eight years in state prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender when he is sentenced next month. He has been remanded into county jail custody.
Defense counsel Thomas McKenna did not respond to a request for comment after the verdict.
The case dates back to 2016 when a woman – then 21 years old – reported to police that she was raped by Azizi, a man she bumped into and accepted alcohol shots from while in a nightclub in San Francisco with friends, prosecutors said.
"They spent time together and the victim became severely intoxicated to the point of no longer being able to recall certain moments of the evening. The defendant removed the victim from the club and away from her friends without notice," prosecutors said.
"He put her into a private car driven by a man the defendant had contracted with before. The defendant paid to have the victim driven to a second car who then transported the pair to the defendant’s home in Dublin," prosecutors added. While in transit, the woman was reportedly in such an intoxicated state that she vomited and couldn't stand on her own, including needing to be carried at one point.
Azizi raped the woman in his home, and she was then taken to a restaurant in Antioch and dropped off to her friends, according to prosecutors. She immediately reported the crime to police.
Key testimony at the trial came from another woman who told the jury she was raped by Azizi under very similar circumstances in 2003 after she met him in a nightclub in Modesto and "became unusually intoxicated" from a drink given to her by Azizi, according to Alameda County prosecutors.
"The defendant led this woman to a nearby hotel where she vomited and was in and out of consciousness," prosecutors said of the woman's testimony. "She was sexually assaulted, blacked out and the next thing she remembered was being loaded into an ambulance."
The 2003 case in Stanislaus County was charged but ultimately not prosecuted there for unknown reasons, according to the Alameda County DA's Office. Azizi contended that interaction was consensual sex.
Opening statements in the trial in Alameda County Superior Court took place on Aug. 17.
The jury went into deliberations just after 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 and by 3:48 p.m. had informed the bailiff that they had reached a verdict on the lone count of forcible rape, according to the DA's office – which highlighted the conviction in a press release on Sept. 6.
Azizi is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 14 in Department 713 of the Alameda County Superior Court.