Reporting Pablo Guzmán
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Opening statements began Monday in the trial of two New York City cops charged in the rape of a drunk woman they escorted home.
Prosecutors allege officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata helped an inebriated 28-year-old fashion industry executive out of a cab in December 2008 before Moreno allegedly raped her inside her East Village apartment while Mata served as a lookout.
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Both officers, suspended and on trial, walked into State Supreme Court almost two and a half years after, prosecutors said, they betrayed their badge and the public’s trust.
Assistant. D.A. Randolph Clark, Jr. told jurors, for the then-27-year-old female fashion industry executive who just attended her own going away party, “what started out as a day of celebration turned into a night of horror.”
He added that through their actions, the officers “targeted two things: the sanctity of our bodies, and the sanctity of our homes.”
Clark went on to describe how the woman was so drunk she needed help getting out of the cab, and how a short time later, she recalled lying face down on her bed, hearing the sound of a police radio. She remembers her tights being pulled down and waking up knowing she was raped.
Prosecutor called the officers’ actions ” calculated, predatory and repeated criminal activity, a rejection of their duty.”
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Both defense attorneys launched into an attack on the woman’s memory and credibility.
“Obviously, their lives hang in the balance here,” said defense attorney Joseph Tacopina, who was expected to argue rape never happened and the semi-conscious victim was too drunk to recall the facts.
Tacopina was telling the jury that by her own admissions the woman admitted she “blacked out really bad.” The woman apparently told her friends that next morning that she wasn’t sure if she had been raped.
What was not in dispute was that the officers made four visits to the victim’s apartment that night. Each was recorded on surveillance video, reports CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman.
Tacopina told the jury the officers returned because Moreno is a recovering alcoholic who was really trying to help, claiming the woman told Moreno: “She was upset that she drinks too much. (She) was comforted by Officer Moreno. (She) asked him to come back. Why did he come back again and again? Would a rapist do that?”
And then came a bombshell from the defense lawyer.
“She became flirtatious with Officer Moreno in that apartment. He made a conscious decision to succumb to physical contact with her. But he did not have sexual intercourse with her!” Tacopina said.
There is no DNA in this case. It will boil down to if the jury believes this woman’s story when she takes the stand, and when the defense lawyer tries to tear that story apart.
Prosecutors likely will try to use Moreno’s own words against him, statements he made to the alleged victim while she was working with the D.A.’s office and wearing a wire.
Moreno repeatedly denied the rape, saying “You’re asking me to admit to something that never happened.” But when pressed, and asked if he wore a condom, he replied: “Yes, yes I did.”
Does the situation sound suspicious to you? Leave a comment below…