FARGO (AP) - A Fargo surgeon accused of drugging and raping his wife tried to cut a deal with family members a week before the trial, the father-in-law of the defendant testified Wednesday.
A judge described the revelation as a bombshell in the trial of Dr. Jon Norberg, who has pleaded not guilty to charges he had sex with Dr. Alonna Norberg without her consent after giving her the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Alonna Norberg's father, Robert Knorr, told the court that Jon Norberg met with him at a Fargo restaurant on Oct. 28 and suggested that Alonna Norberg recant her story to help spare the families undo harm.
Knorr said Jon Norberg told him he wanted a "global settlement" on the criminal matter, the couple's divorce and a civil case Knorr filed against Jon Norberg in a dispute over Knorr's house.
"He had written down on a slip of paper that Alonna was the only one who could stop this," Knorr said. "And I said, 'Well, how would she do that?' And he said, 'Well, she could either say that it was a dream or that she was lying or that she didn't remember, and the trial could be stopped.'"
Knorr said Norberg "suggested that we would either talk to his attorney or find another criminal attorney and they could tell us what we would have to do" to stop the trial.
"I told him that there was no way that that was going to happen that I could see," Knorr said.
Defense attorney Robert Hoy tried to keep the jury from hearing Knorr's testimony. Hoy argued that it was inadmissible as a protected conversation because it was an offer to compromise or resolve ongoing litigation.
The Forum reports that Judge Douglas Herman, who ruled to allow the testimony, was livid with attorneys about the testimony and said it was the first he heard of it.
"Why would your client do something that is just so bizarre, such incredibly bad judgment?" Herman said outside the jury's presence. "He's charged with a double-A felony. Why would he do this? Why would he do this, create this problem? This is ... I can't imagine. I simply can't imagine."
Hoy said it was an effort by Jon Norberg to resolve all pending court cases "in any way that was possible."