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New Mexico court upholds Native American actor convictions

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Court of Appeals has upheld the rape and voyeurism convictions of Native American actor and film producer Redwolf Pope.

A jury in 2020 found Pope guilty of taking photos and video of himself sexually assaulting a Seattle woman in a Santa Fe hotel room in 2017.

The jurors acquitted Pope of kidnapping, which was the most serious charge against him and carried up to an 18-year prison sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, the woman Pope was convicted of raping had asked him to give her a ride home from a party.

In an appeal filed in 2021, attorneys for Pope argued that his convictions should be overturned because the District Court had erred by not granting him a change of venue.

They also said the evidence didn’t support the convictions and the convictions violated double jeopardy rules, which prohibit defendants from being punished more than once for the same act.

A panel of three Court of Appeals judges rejected each of the arguments.

Pope also is an activist who has been described as having assisted elders and others during 2016 pipeline protests at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.