Lawyer says tape proves rough sex was consensual


UPDATE: Charges against Hoffman have been dropped.

The case has sex, the attorney says there are lies and there is videotape. The case also involves sadomasochism and sexual domination. All of it came out Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.

Three women who say they were victims are testifying. ABC7 has decided not to reveal their identities.

The 19-year-old woman says she responded to Michael Hoffman's ad on Craigslist in early June.

Hoffman wrote that he liked to degrade and dominate his partners.

The 50-year-old defendant is a labor lawyer with a downtown office. He specializes in cases where workers claim they have been wrongfully terminated and sexually harassed.

"Michael Hoffman put his ad in thw Craigslist looking for people to 'I want to beat you, I want to pull your hair, I want you to whimper,'" defense attorney Stu Hanlon said.

The woman, who responded with the name Liz, says she had sex with Hoffman twice before the assault in his apartment near Aquatic Park on June 25.

Liz says she told Hoffman she wanted to chat and did not want sex but that he raped her anyway.

Hanlon says Liz and the other two reported victims knew what they would encounter when they responded to Hoffman's ads for rough sex and that it was consensual.

Just before the noon break, Hanlon surprised the court by saying Hoffman had videotaped the sexual encounter with Liz.

"It's just the evidence shows to me she's lying, and the video will support it as does the audio; it's sad why she would do this, I have no idea," Hanlon said.

"That's new information to us; we have an opportunity to review that information and will make a decision on how to move forward in this case," San Francisco District Attorney's Office spokesperson Seth Steward said.

The 36-year-old woman says she was attacked by Hoffman in March. She also responded to one of his ads on Craigslist. When ABC7 spoke to her off camera two weeks ago she said she responded to his ad not expecting she would be beaten and raped. She testified Wednesday afternoon.

There's a question whether the tapes can be admitted in court since Hoffman apparently recorded them without his accuser's permission. His attorney argues that even so, illegally recorded tapes can be admitted to show if someone lied under oath.

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