A judge has denied a motion for a new trial in the case of a Leavenworth woman who was convicted last month of raping a child.

A judge has denied a motion for a new trial in the case of a Leavenworth woman who was convicted last month of raping a child.

A hearing was held Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court in the case of Mahogany Payne.

Payne, 41, was convicted in October of one count of rape for sexually abusing a 16-month-old girl who had been left in Payne’s care.

Jurors acquitted Payne of a second rape charge.

Payne’s attorney, Curtis Holmes, filed a motion seeking a judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the jury’s verdict or a new trial in the case.

Prosecutors filed a motion seeking that Holmes be found in contempt of court for actions he took during the trial.

Arguments made during Wednesday’s hearing focused on closing arguments made by Holmes at the end of last month’s trial.

Holmes argued for a new trial Wednesday, saying District Court Judge Gunnar Sundby had not allowed him to complete his closing argument. He argued that this action by the judge essentially had dictated a guilty verdict to jurors.

“We believe that is in fact judicial misconduct,” Holmes said.

Assistant County Attorney Katie Devlin argued that Holmes had violated rulings by the judge and attempted to suggest during the closing argument that the 16-month-old child had psychological problems. Devlin said no evidence regarding psychological problems had been introduced during the trial.

Holmes said the prosecutor was mischaracterizing his closing argument.

Holmes said he had been offering an interpretation of testimony regarding the child not being the same.

Holmes said he was suggesting the child could have been sexually abused before she was dropped off at the defendant’s home.

“Your honor, that was the defense case in this matter,” he said.

Sundby said he had reviewed the closing argument before Wednesday’s hearing. He said problems began when Holmes indicated that he did not think a witness had been telling the truth.

“That is for the jury to decide,” Sundby said.

He said the argument by Holmes had not been proper.

Sundby said Holmes made additional impermissible comments and the closing argument was stopped.

The judge said there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict. He denied the request for a judgment of an acquittal. He also denied the request for a new trial.

Sundby also denied the prosecution’s request that Holmes be found in contempt. The judge said it would have been proper for the prosecution to argue this issue at the time of the trial.

Sundby set sentencing in the case for Dec. 8.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR