Germany gripped by celebrity weatherman rape trial

Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:20pm EDT
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - The rape trial of a celebrity weatherman famed for his rumpled appearance and entertaining reports has the German media falling over itself to publish every salacious detail of his tangled love life.

ARD public TV network weatherman Joerg Kachelmann has denied charges that he raped a 37-year-old radio host, but failed to dampen the interest of the German papers, the public and a best-selling novelist in reports of his many girlfriends and busy celebrity lifestyle.

The 52-year-old Swiss national, who has already spent four months in jail, said he had consensual sex just before the unnamed girlfriend discovered he was having an affair and ended their relationship. Prosecutors said Kachelmann raped her at knifepoint after she learned of the affair.

"I did not have a knife and I did not commit a rape," Kachelmann said in a statement read out to the court at the start of the trial Monday.

His lawyer told the trial that Germany's top weatherman will not testify in person against charges that he raped the girlfriend after a pasta dinner in her flat.

"He will not give testimony," Kachelmann's attorney Reinhard Birkenstock told the trial in the western city of Mannheim.

The case has attracted the attention of American novelist John Grisham, who was quoted in the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost saying he could imagine turning it into a novel.

Grisham said he was fascinated by the question: "When and how a woman says no? When in a relationship does rape start?"   Continued...

<p>Swiss meteorologist and TV weather host Joerg Kachelmann sits in his car as he leaves the district court in Mannheim, September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Domanski</p>