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Trial Begins Monday in Statehouse Sexual Harrassment Trial

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A former Republican statehouse staffer will finally have her day in court more than four years after she says she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment in the office.

Kristen Anderson was fired as communications director for the House Republican Caucus in 2013.  She says the firing came just hours after she asked superiors to investigate sexual harassment in the office.

In her lawsuit she claims current and former legislators and staff members openly talked and joked about women's bodies and sexual activities.

Jury selection finished Monday at the Polk County Courthouse.  The jury consists of five men and four women.

At 3:30 Monday, the attorneys for Anderson began to lay out their case in opening statements.

Micheal Carroll said the case will be built on three pillars; an obvious hostile work environment, blatant sexual harassment and the state's inability to fix the problem.

"My client told the state not just one time in 2010. Not just a second time in 2012. A third time in 2012. A fourth time in 2012. A fifth time in 2013," said Carroll. "The evidence is going to be that the state did not investigate. The state did nothing to fix the problem."

After Carroll laid out his his case the defense spent much of their time denying those claims. Molly Weber, The State of Iowa's defense team, pleaded with jurors to use logical and rely on evidence to make a decision not Anderson's claims of wide-spread sexual harassment.

"When you hear that, ask yourself, if that makes sense. Ask yourself, id she trying to shift the blame away from her documented poor work performance," said Weber.

Among those listed as witnesses are current Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, State Senator Rick Bertrand,  State Senator Jerry Behn, State Senator Randy Feenstra, State Senator Tim Kapucian and current Senate Republican staffers Eric Johansen and Ed Failor, Jr.

The trial will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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