Jury selection begins for Saudi accused of raping boy in Strip hotel

Jury selection was expected to continue Friday for a Royal Saudi Air Force sergeant standing trial on charges he raped a 13-year-old boy in the bathroom of a Circus Circus hotel room on New Year’s Eve.

Mazen Alotaibi, who faces nine counts, including two counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14 and one count of kidnapping, could face 35 years to life in prison if convicted.

Jury selection began Thursday.

According to a Las Vegas police report, Alotaibi said he offered the boy money for sex, and when he refused, he raped the boy.

Dressed in a suit, Alotaibi appeared in court for jury selection. A woman translated for him, though he told Judge Stefany Miley he understood about 75 percent of what was being said.

Defense lawyer Don Chairez has said there was more to what happened than what authorities have released, including that the victim was trying to buy marijuana from Alotaibi and other Saudi military members visiting Las Vegas.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.