Attorney argues Brock Turner's sexual assault conviction should be overturned

An argument to overturn the conviction of a former Stanford University swimmer who was found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman is in the hands of a California appeals court, which must consider whether "sexual outercourse" made a difference in the case.

An attorney for Brock Turner said before a three-judge panel on Tuesday that in 2015, the then 19-year-old college freshman had his clothes on when he was discovered with the victim outside of a fraternity party near Stanford.

When Turner was found on top of the woman, who was also unconscious and half-naked, he was fully clothed and did not have his genitals exposed. Attorney Eric Multhaup argued that Turner was engaged in "sexual outercourse" and did not demonstrate that he intended to rape the victim, according to NBC Bay Area.

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Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016. Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith speaks to members of the media prior to the release of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, at the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
An undated photo of Brock Allen Turner is shown in Ohio State General's office website. Courtesy Ohio Attorney General's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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Multhaup described "outercourse" as an activity that does not involve vaginal sex and as a "version of safe sex."

Turner's case received national attention and reignited conversations about sexual assault on college campuses after he was sentenced to six months in jail — blasted by critics as being too lenient.

During his trial, the defense used Turner's alcohol consumption to account for his behavior on the night of the assault.

Turner was released in September 2016, about three months shy of the full sentence and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life. A successful appeal could prevent Turner, who lives in Ohio, from having to be registered.

The appeals court has 90 days to issue a ruling, although the judges on Tuesday appeared to be skeptical of the defense's arguments, The Associated Press reported.

"I absolutely don't understand what you are talking about," Justice Franklin Elia told Multhaup, adding that the law "requires the jury verdict to be honored."

Assistant Attorney General Alisha Carlile argued that Multhaup had presented a "far-fetched version of events" that didn't support the facts of the case.

Last month, the judge who initially sentenced Turner was recalled by Santa Clara County voters after a campaign to unseat him raised more than $2 million in nationwide contributions.

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