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Baltimore man acquitted of rape for third time in three years

A Baltimore man — who has been tried for rape three times in three years — was acquitted again by a city jury Friday.

Prosecutors said that Nelson Bernard Clifford, 35, broke into a Reservoir Hill home and raped a woman at knifepoint in November of 2011. DNA and other evidence linked him to the woman's home, but Clifford's defense attorney argued that the sex was consensual and said the accuser gave an inconsistent account.

Last week, Clifford was found not guilty in a rape case where a woman gave an account similar to his accuser in his most recent trial. In that case, he said the sex was consensual. City prosecutors lobbied to have the cases tried together, but were unsuccessful.

Clifford — who was convicted in 1997 of a second-degree sex offense — is still being held in the Baltimore City Detention Center, awaiting trial in an attempted rape case.

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