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Secret hearings held in ex-Oklahoma City cop’s rape conviction case

Daniel Holtzclaw sentencing in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, Pool)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The case of an ex-Oklahoma City police officer convicted of raping women while on duty focused the public’s attention on the problem of sexual misconduct on the force. But his appeal raising questions about DNA evidence is playing out in secret.

Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced in 2016 to 263 years in prison for preying on black women he encountered while patrolling poor neighborhoods.

The 30-year-old has maintained his innocence. In February he appealed his conviction. But filings in the case as recently as last week have been sealed. His lawyers contend that prosecutors relied on faulty DNA analysis. It helped convict him on 18 counts of sex-related crimes against eight women.

Holtzclaw’s attorneys argue jurors likely would have acquitted without DNA evidence.

Two jurors interviewed by AP said the jury would have convicted him anyway.