MAYS LANDING - Eugene Robinson said sex was the last thing on his mind as he drove the pretty young girl who had asked for a ride to her motel.
"I was waiting for God to send me the one that's supposed to be my Christian wife," he said. "That's what it says in the Bible."
Yet within minutes of taking the girl to a cheap motel in neighboring Absecon, the 67-year-old Atlantic City councilman and Baptist minister was receiving oral sex.
"I was so surprised," he testified yesterday in an Atlantic County courtroom. "I, um, hadn't really had any sexual activity since '89. I thought that, naively, we were going to just pet."
He didn't know that the woman was a prostitute hired by his political rivals to lure him into a sex sting.
Three men are on trial for conspiracy, criminal coercion and invasion of privacy in the videotaping case, which prosecutors allege was intended to ruin Robinson for switching political allegiances from former council president Craig Callaway, who had just admitted taking bribes and was on his way to prison.
Two of Callaway's brothers, Ronald and David, and friend Floyd Tally are accused of helping carry out the blackmail plot.
The woman, identified as Kristyn Haino, testified yesterday that some of the defendants hired her to lure Robinson to the motel and to have sex with him.
She approached him outside a 7-Eleven, saying she needed a ride to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on the other side of the city where her friends were. Robinson said that at first he resisted because he had to meet a friend.
"At first I kept saying, 'No, no, no,' " Robinson testified. "But then I thought, 'If you send a tourist away angry, they'll tell people not to come to Atlantic City.' I don't think she would have been able to convince me if I wasn't so tired."
Robinson said Haino had asked him for money to buy sodas, and he handed her a dollar - an exchange captured on the videotape that was designed to make it look like he was paying her for sex.
He testified that he hadn't known that she was a prostitute or that their sexual activity had been anything but consensual.
A few weeks later, a man he did not recognize approached him with a laptop computer.
Robinson testified that the man said, "'I got this video of you with an underage prostitute!"'
The man said that if Robinson didn't resign, the man would take the video to reporters and to Robinson's church, the minister testified.
Days later, a local radio reporter aired a story claiming to have a video showing an Atlantic City councilman having sex with an underage girl. (Haino was 24 at the time.)
Robinson said that he hired a lawyer and contacted the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.
Though he has not asserted a cause-and-effect relationship, Robinson's health took a dramatic plunge after the sex video became known. He now lives in a nursing home and was wheeled into court in a wheelchair before the jury arrived, a blanket covering his legs. In a frail voice he said that he takes eight prescription medications daily.
He has missed months of council meetings in the past year and did not run for re-election. His term expires Dec. 31.