In a unanimous 6-0 decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Francois Monulu Khalil for third-degree criminal sexual misconduct after over a year in prison, ruling that he was incapable of sexually assaulting the victim since she had willingly consumed alcohol prior to meeting him.
The two met in May of 2017 after the woman, who was 20 at the time, was denied entry to a bar after the bouncer deemed her too intoxicated. Khalil and two other men invited her and a friend to "a party," but no such gathering existed.
She testified that she blacked out and woke up on a couch finding the man who she had just met sexually assaulting her.
According to court records, once she had woken up and seen that Khalil was allegedly raping her, she told him she didn’t want to have sex, at which point he allegedly replied: “But you’re so hot and you turn me on.”
Khalil was sentenced in 2019 and has been incarcerated since, though his attorney, Will Walker, told The Washington Post he expects him to be released soon.
“When you have a 6-to-0 unanimous decision, that tells you that the courts have recognized what I was telling the district court judge all along: You cannot add your own elements to the law,” Walker said.
The conviction was overturned due to a state law which states that a person cannot be considered "mentally incapacitated" and incapable of consenting to sex if they are intoxicated on which were substances “administered to that person without the person’s agreement.”
According to the Post, a majority of US states - 40 states, as of 2016 - have similar laws which treat intoxication as a barrier to consent only if victims became drunk against their will.
Last month, Minnesota legislators put forth a bipartisan bill in the state's House of Representatives which aims to close the voluntary intoxication loophole.