NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Closing arguments were expected Thursday in the six-week long trial of two police officers charged with rape. Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata could face up to 25 years in prison if they’re convicted.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports from the courthouse
Officer Moreno’s last moments on the witness stand Wednesday may have been critical. Under pressure from heated prosecution, he admitted he kept secrets about the night in question.
Moreno was accused of raping a drunk fashion executive in December 2008. Both he and partner Mata were helping the drunk, then 27-year old woman.
Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert grilled the cop about the details of the night in question, determined to bring down Moreno on his third day on the witness stand. She got him to accidentally reveal a lot about himself at the end of this exchange.
Balbert: “What did you tell Officer Mata about what happened in the bedroom?”
Balbert: “You never told Officer Mata that she tried to come on to you?”
Balbert: “You never told him any of these things?”
Moreno: “I never kiss and tell.”
That came after Balbert said she found it unbelievable that Moreno claimed he did not tell his partner, Officer Mata, what was going on inside that bedroom. But the tone between Moreno and Balbert got truly heated and so confrontational in this next exchange, Balbert was yelling.
Balbert: “After 17 years as a police officer, were you aware that having sex with someone when they are not able to give consent is a crime?”
Moreno: “That night? I wasn’t thinking about that then because…”
Balbert: “Answer yes or no!”
Moreno: “I didn’t have flash cards in front of me!”
Balbert: “Yes or no!”
Moreno: “Generally, yes.”
When the woman secretly recorded Moreno outside the 9th Precinct, Balbert wondered sarcastically why Moreno never used the moment to tell the woman she was the one who came on to him, as Moreno now claims.
Balbert: “Did you utter the words to her, ‘You were naked in that bedroom except for your bra!’ did you?!”
Balbert: “You never told her because it never happened!”
Moreno: “That’s not true.”
Earlier, Moreno claimed the woman called him into her bedroom on his third return visit to her East Village apartment.
Balbert: “When you walked in to the bedroom, you didn’t see she had just a bra on?”
Moreno: “She had covers wrapped around her.”
Balbert: “She pulled those off?”
Moreno: “She pulled them down and came over to me.”
Balbert: “You didn’t see her take off her dress?”
Balbert: “You did not see her take off her bra?”
Balbert attempted to establish that Moreno, who was on duty, engaged in some level of intimacy with the intoxicated woman he was summoned to help.
Balbert: “You said she tried to kiss you.”
Moreno: “Yes. And I turned my face. She touched my vest and she asked me what it was. I told her it was my bulletproof vest. She asked me if it works. I said I haven’t found out yet then I kissed her on the forehead.”
Balbert: “She rubbed her buttocks against your groin area?”
Balbert: “Was that unexpected?”
Moreno: “Yes. I told her there was another time for this.”
Under questioning, Officer Moreno then tried to characterize himself as a reluctant participant in an unfortunate situation.
Moreno: “She was holding my right hand, she loosened her grip. I was trying to slip out.”
Balbert: “You said you felt bad. You said you didn’t want to be there?”
Moreno: “I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be lying on the bed. Not like that. I didn’t think any of that was going to happen.”
Balbert: “You held her?”
Moreno: “She wanted to be held, so I held her.”
On Tuesday, Balbert focused on a secretly-recorded conversation Moreno had with his accuser in front of the his precinct station house.
Whose testimony do you think is more credible in this case? Leave a comment below…