Accuser’s Friends Testify In Rape Trial Of NYPD Officers Moreno, Mata
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Testimony resumed in the shocking rape trial of two NYPD officers Tuesday.
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.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Jury gets a first look at the accuser
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell on the friend’s testimony
The officers were called to help the alleged victim, who was inebriated after attending her own going away party, get inside her apartment.
Two of the victim’s friends, who had been at the party, took the stand Tuesday.
Kendra Taylor testified that shortly after midnight the accuser wanted to go home because she wasn’t feeling well.
Laurie Simi described the victim as intoxicated, stumbling and unable to stand on her own as they tried to get her into a cab.
“I thought she was intoxicated. Any time you have to walk someone to the sidewalk, and then put them in a cab, they’re not OK,” Simi testified.
Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina argued that the woman was coherent.
“While there’s no doubt alcohol was involved in this case it wasn’t to the point that it rendered someone unconscious,” Tacopina said.
Defense attorney Ed Mandery claimed the victim was not out cold.
“If someone is intoxicated, part of the law involves their ability to communicate and here we’ve got every witness that’s able to communicate with her just fine,” Mandery said.
Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke called the cabbie, “Kofi,” to the stand. He testified the woman was so drunk on the way to her East Village apartment, she threw up on the street in Brooklyn, and then on the Manhattan Bridge, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
“She asked me if I could stop the car so she could vomit. I said no,” the cabbie said, adding when asked what happened next, “She make a noise like she vomit, in the car.”
When asked what happened at her building, the cabbie said, “She asked me for assistance, to get out the cab. I say no. I call 9-1-1.”
However, Tacopina said a security video will show a jury that the accuser was able to make it into her apartment without assistance.
“They’re going to see the complaining witness walking on her own, in high heels, into a building, up three flights of stairs, on her own,” Tacopina said.
The officers were recorded on surveillance video making four visits to the victim’s apartment that night.
On Monday, 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.
Prosecutors said that through their actions the officer’s “targeted two things: the sanctity of our bodies, and the sanctity of our homes” and turned the woman’s celebration into a “night of horror.”
Prosecutor called the officers’ actions “calculated” and “predatory.”
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.”