Celebrity fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander was indicted on 59 counts of sexual assault in a move prosecutors said Thursday would keep his accusers from having to testify at a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors previously charged Alexander with more than 40 felony and misdemeanor counts involving 18 victims that included rape, sexual battery and committing a lewd act on a child. He pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges.
The indictment, unsealed Thursday, added two more alleged victims to the original case, bringing the total number to 20. Alexander targeted the women and girls, ages 15 to 27, between November 2002 and March 2007, prosecutors contend.
“One of the reasons in seeking the indictment is that it speeds up the process and avoids a preliminary hearing,” said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. “The nature of the charges allows victims not to testify twice.”
Alexander, 33, has made the rounds of parties and fashion events, working with celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Michelle Rodriguez and Mary J. Blige. He also was a profiled designer on the TV show “America’s Next Top Model” in 2003 and was among 20 people profiled by Newsweek as up-and-coming players in various industries.
Alexander is suspected of meeting women on the Internet and assaulting them when they visited with him about modeling opportunities.
His defense has claimed some of the women made the allegations to seek fame. Alexander’s lawyer, Anthony Brooklier, said in some of the cases, the victims either kept in contact or met with the fashion designer after the crimes supposedly occurred.
Alexander was arrested in March at his Beverly Hills apartment. Bail was set at $1.3 million but Alexander remained in custody.
He was in court Thursday when Superior Court Judge David Wesley ordered him held without bail pending an Oct. 25 hearing. Prosecutors had asked for bail to be reset at $5.1 million.
A grand jury in Houston charged Alexander on July 30 with felony sexual assault of a child between ages 14 and 16, assistant district attorney Brian Rose said. Houston police have an open warrant for his arrest. Investigations also are under way in New York and Massachusetts.
Alexander came to the United States from India as a teen with his sister and mother. He graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York in 1998 and began designing jewelry and clothing.
If convicted of all counts, he faces up to life in prison.