WASHINGTON — An attorney for a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman at the center of a sexual assault case says the defense is trying to exhaust the alleged victim on the stand.

Susan Burke said in court Sunday that a defense lawyer for one of the three former football players accused in the case had asked if the alleged victim would withdraw from further testimony because she is fatigued. Burke said later in an interview that she interpreted the request as evidence of attempts to tire the woman out.

On Sunday, as the hearing to determine whether the three will face a court-martial continued, a lawyer representing one of the men confirmed that he approached Burke but denied the allegation.

“She chose to disclose her version of the conversation,” said Ronald Herrington, who is representing Midshipman Eric Graham. “I dispute her version, but an inquiry was made” about her client’s intentions.

The three midshipmen — Graham, 21; Tra’ves Bush, 22; and Josh Tate, 21 — are accused of sexually assaulting the woman at an alcohol-fueled off-campus party. The woman has said she doesn’t remember having sex with the men.

She has said she only learned of what happened after hearing gossip that she had slept with multiple partners at the house where football players gathered. That prompted her to ask Tate whether they had sex that night. She testified that he told her that they had. She said he also told her she had a sexual encounter with another one of the accused, Graham.

The woman, now a senior at the academy, began testifying Tuesday. She said Saturday she was too tired to continue, and the court agreed she wouldn’t have to testify that day.

She was on the stand again Sunday for cross-examination.

The Associated Press generally does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

Academy officials denied a request to separate the three men’s cases, attorneys for midshipmen Tra’ves Bush and Graham said during the hearing Sunday.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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