Officer Moreno’s Attorney Attacks Accuser’s Credibility In Closing Argument

Tacopina: 'She Might've Been Drunk, But She Was Aware Drunk!'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Thirteen jurors have spent the last two and a half months contemplating the guilt or innocence of NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.

Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina opened his summation Friday with the point he hopes will clear his client, Moreno, who is charged with sexually assaulting a drunken fashion executive inside her apartment in December 2008.

“The evidence was not there” to convict, he told jurors.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Defense Says Accuser Not Incapacitated

Four hours later, Tacopina ended his summation in defense of Officer Moreno with tears and a reddened face in front of the jury. He then sat apart from his colleagues, as he composed himself.

Later, CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman questioned him about whether or not reasonable doubt had been established during the trial.

“I mean, look, this is a case I think where reasonable doubt is larded in the evidence and in the testimony. I think the jurors could find a host of ways to acquit Officer Moreno,” Tacopina said.

The way Tacopina challenged reasonable doubt was to rip apart the story the woman who said she was raped by police told on the witness stand. Attacking her credibility, Tacopina told the jurors, “She drank five Red Bulls in an hour! Five Red Bulls! Folks, don’t try this at home! She might’ve been a drunk, but she was an awake drunk!”

Morneo and his partner Mata, who is accused of serving as a lookout but also charged with rape, were both dispatched to help the alleged victim in this case.

Surveillance video shows they returned to her East Village apartment a total of four times. But Tacopina told the jury, “There is no proof whatsoever that she was physically helpless.”

The accuser testified that after the two officers escorted her into her apartment while she was very drunk, she spent the rest of the throwing up and passing out. But Tacopina referred to the surveillance video where she is seen walking and talking to the cops as they went into the building.

Tacopina also used the testimony of his toxicology expert saying someone who is no longer drinking is sobering up, their blood alcohol level decreasing.

He then asked the jury why would the cops return to take advantage of someone who was no longer incapacitated.

Tacopina also told jurors to consider the memory factor in weighing the credibility of the accuser.

“Keep in mind that she tell dramatically different versions of her story at different times, at the hospital, to investigators, to this jury,” he said.

Mata’s lawyer and prosecutors have yet to give their summations.

“Everything really boils down to the rape charge. If you find that he did not commit rape, everything else falls by a common sense argument,” Tacopina said.

Everything else includes, among other things, four charges of official misconduct.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports: Tacopina Talks To Jury About Accuser

Moreno is also accused of falsifying a patrol log and making a fake 911 call, all to allegedly buy them more time inside the apartment where prosecutors say Moreno raped the intoxicated woman in her bedroom.

“These patrol guide violations, by themselves are not crimes,” Tacopina said.

One of Tacopina’s challenges is to neutralize any damage his case may have suffered during Moreno’s time on the witness stand.

On Wednesday, Moreno admitted that he kept secrets about the night in question. Assistant district attorney Coleen Balbert grilled the cop about the details of the night in question, determined to bring down Moreno on the witness stand.

And when asked about Officer Moreno’s credibility on the stand, and his “I don’t kiss and tell” remark, Tacopina said, “He kissed her head; he kissed her back. ‘I don’t kiss and tell’ … that’s just who he is. He’s just being genuine!”

Tacopina also told the jury that the woman who said she was raped is motivated, in part, by her $57 million suit against the city.

Many observers believe that for some of the jurors at least, the rape charge has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The district attorney will get a last chance to make a convincing argument Monday or Tuesday.

If convicted, Moreno and Mata could face up to 25 years in prison.

What do you think? Let us know in our comments section below:

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Juliet Papa
  • Ellen

    To many questions here. Seamen found not to be that of this police officer, the woman drunk as a skunk so how can her testimony be reliable to begin with, and as one poster pointed out she herself let this guy in not once but three times. Moreno and Mata should be fired from their jobs, and that’s it. No way could I find these guys guilty on the flimsy evidence the Prosecution has. The word of a drunk wouldn’t be permissible in any courtroom.

  • cecelia

    I agree with Kathy a female Officer should have been dispatched. The laying down next to the women is misconduct by the police. And the officer saying he does not kiss and tell. Guilty Guitly. Not way officers should act. Busted

  • Teacher

    Not Guilty, not enough evidence to prove that there was a rape..perhaps consensual sex but not rape. Sorry everyone..

  • Not Guilty

    Why not sue the bar that kept serving her some much liquor that she was so drunk? Did they question the bartender to see how much she drank how she was? Too quick to blame the police because they are police but of course if god forbid you were accused of rape then what??????????? It is clear a he said she said too many holes in her story and a big pay out for her. Did she once deny she was suing before the trial began? it is too easy to cry rape. Speaking as a female who was raised with morals a drunk is a drunk she needs help and fast if they were not cops this would not be playing out on the news the way it is. Her parents must be proud of what they raised.

  • Joey from Bensonhurst

    What is wrong with her? It’s not like she got pregnant or anything….Forget about it. Life is a bit ch….then you run into another one.

  • joe for mayor

    they take a oath upon leaving the acadamy to uphold the law, and not to abuse their egos which they all do so they are not truck drivers. the other officer was sleeping on the job hah. 1 cop in aq car and save money in the city 1 cop in a car and pass a physical 2 times a year overweight cops. crime up again mike

  • Kathy

    The police department should have dispatched female offices to bring this intoxicated female home. Men do crazy things when they are around helpless intoxicated females – these two police officers lost it and took total advange of the situation. Also, where were any of her collegues??? They must have seen how drunk she was from all that drinking and should have made sure that she got home saftely. That’s what I would have done.


      @Kathy..perhaps that’s what you, I and a million other law abiding, civil human beings would have done. In this case you had a police officer who is trained and payed to do “the right thing”. He chose to possibly be a sexual therapist to a woman who was not as intoxicated as she claims. She walked up the steps to her apt on her own will, scantily undressed “supposedly”, had “consensual-rape” with a man that she was able to identify and tell the ordeal word for word.
      It puts a bad claim to the word “rape” for unfortunate future ordeals for women, eventually it will become the “Boy that cried wolf”. No-one will believe it. Was it a one-night stand with a man in uniform that went bad or was it RAPE..time will tell…this too shall pass ?!

      • skalley99

        Maybe it wasnot the officers first doing the deed, only the first time he got caught.

    • Gregg

      I agree with you . These cops are bad. A women police officer should have been sent on the call knowing it was a drunk girl ! The cop is admitting to kissing the girl ! What the hell else did he do, she was naked. Hang Um High !

    • Not Guilty

      That is true Kathy but something is too fishy about this case. I believe something happened between them but was consensual and she say a big payday. Too funny she has selective memory, admits she knew not to shower but did anyway and the dr. in the ER said she had a full nights make up on the next day. As a female when I shower I always wash off my make up why not wash the make up off hmmmmmmmm

  • Seth

    Moreno’s testmony was so ridiculous and so outlandish one would have to be an idiot to believe this guy. He came off on the stand the same way he did in the taped confession. Just creepy and not believable. Moreno exhibits very typical rapist behavior,thinking his victim wanted him and he had to fight her off. After the woman accuses him of rape he offers to be her boyfriend! This is how abusers behave. As far as no DNA,he used a condom,so of course there’s no dna! Pack your bags for the trip upstate Moreno. We’ll see how you like “cuddling”with your cell mates Jamal and Hector

    • nyc

      I agree they are creepy and not believable. Unfortunatly, I think they are going to get off from the rape charge. I hope not ! Two bad cops.

  • shawn

    guilty, Nypd cops are a** holes, they deserve the death penalty, rape is just as bad As murder. I’ll Never will be on the nypds side, they ve done so much wrong over the years they deserve to rot in jail and get the special treatment from the inmates

    • DIVA


  • rob

    These two cops are giving good cops bad rap. In no way these two represent the fine job the other cops are doing out there. These two cops have too many holes in there testimonies and will eventually be convicted at the end. No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts.’
    Even the police force are disgusted with these two piece of dirt. Not one single unit out there will support them. Time to pay the piper.

  • The Facts

    We will probably never know for sure what actually transpired. While the actions of the two police officers were unusual and suspicious, we have only the word of the accuser that she was raped and the statement that a condom was used. There may very well be insufficient evidence to bring in a rape conviction. It may be easier to just convict on official misconduct. We’ll see.

    • skalley99

      To writer facts, I donot believe that a rapist broadcasts his or her crime for everyone to see. therefore, it is always what each party claims. However, given what has been reported, I believe the victim.

      • The Facts

        You should not characterize the accuser as “the victim” until the trial is over and the rape charge proved. How can you be so sure who the victim was here?

  • Kat

    if they were seen coming and going four times, the woman could not have stayed drunk all that time…. who was letting them into her apartment… there are too many holes in her story and who knows how friendly she was seeming to them. Way too ambiguous…. no evidence…..can’t go far without it …

    • Tommy

      You know they stole her keyst and they have video of them using the keys each of the 4 times to get into her apartment…right? Her keys were then found in Moreno’s locker, along with a big bag of heroin. The funny part about your post is you are saying there are holes in her story….yet you believe that Moreno visited this women 4 times to counsel her on the dangers of alcohol abuse. He then decided to climb into bed with a half naked girl who was puking all over herself to snuggle and sing Bon Jovi songs to. But of course, this puke covered girl was able to collect herself to make numerous advances on Moreno…all while his partner slept in the other room. Of course, that is more believable than her side. Its like high school kid telling his girlfriend he wants to play “just the tip” and accidentally goes all the way in…whoops.

      • Trishe

        HEROIN was discovevered in his locker?? why is he not in jail??

  • Reality Check

    Not guilty because it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. You have a sober cop’s word vs an admittedly drunk person’s word. You have no DNA from the cops yet DNA from multiple other partners. She should have thought this one through a bit more before dragging everything into open court.

    • Tommy

      People are relying WAY too much on this term “reasonable doubt.” People have been convicted with far little evidence and all the jury has to do is believe the accuser…which they probably will after Moreno’s ridiculous testimony.

      • Nice Story Officers

        No doubt. I agree. Your statement is a very sensible one with the outcome to be just as you say. It’s just a guess, but I suspect to the two knuckle-heads bet on the young lady not being able to remember a thing and perhaps be to embarrassed to press charges. They were wrong. Just as wrong as they were with the other 100 mistakes they made that night

    • Not Guilty

      Reality Check she has 57 million dollars oops reasons riding on this. I feel for real rape victims because they are the ones who will suffer for what she is doing. She is only seeing dollar signs. I hope they are found not guilty on rape and her lawsuit thrown out. She was walking on her own into the building the cab driver her friends changed there stories so something is not smelling roses.

  • Ellen

    Oh by the way it’s Friday the 13th so wonder who’s bad luck will this day will bring. The Defense or Prosecution? Going to be one interesting day for all of us.

    • MIKE


      25 TO LIFE


  • Ellen

    If you don’t like these two guys and find them guilty then fine, but stop with the cop bashing will you. If they were two truck drivers would you be bashing all truck drivers. Ya, bash the police until your the one that has to call 911.

    • MIKE




  • looking for justice

    One additional thought: Moreno looks like a pretty boy who doesn’t like to get to messy. If the alleged victim is covered with puke and a bit smelly, I don’t see Moreno having sex with her. I could be wrong but I’ve worked with guys that look like him.

  • MIKE




    • Claude

      Well put. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Not Guilty

    Do not label officers guilty when your not on the jury based on what is being reported. Yes, I do believe they had consenual sex not rape. she has filed for a civil multi million lawsuit, no DNA from the officers but three other men?? Not judging just saying. How many rape victims file multi million dollar lawsuits? This is a real injustice to real rape victims. Rape is rape consensual sex is not rape for a payout. I do not believe Moreno would risk his 17 year career marriage and jail to “rape” someone.

    • frank

      hey not guilty
      you were not there and already taking the cops side. think about this lady, she won’t go to a court of law and say a cop rape her if is not true. think about it you cop lover!!!

      • Not Guilty

        for 57 miillion she is suing the city for before this even went to trail? She is a drunken tramp not a cop lover not a male but a female and it all says she is a drunken tramp who is using this for her own gain. she can remember being “raped” but nothing else???????????? read the transcript of there talk and her own friends said she is a season drinker enough said

  • Not Guilty

    I would find them not guilty especially since it has been reported she filed a multi million dollar lawsuit against the city. she can remember being “raped” but nothing else, had DNA from three other men in her bed but not the officers? She needs AA and birth control.

    • Ellen

      Not Guilty, I knew of one sample but three. Now if I was on the jury I would have to say Not Guilty right there and then.

      • looking for justice

        I agree, not guilty. But this cop is not worthy to wear the uniform. He is a POS. There is no dna, no trace evidence, nothing. He said – she said. She is a booze hound whose looking for a payday. Mata is a young cop who should have manned up to senior partner. Both should lose their jobs and move on.

      • Not Guilty


    • frank

      hey not guilty
      you wish it would be you so you can get money. YOU MUST BE GAY WHO HATE WOMEN. don’t be an ass!!!

      • Not Guilty

        Sorry Frank I am a female and I work for a living and it will be mine yours and everyone of us paying taxes who will pay for this drunk. And no I am not cherry picking. If t his was some average Joe with a regular job would she have gone so far with it??? And yes the DNA could have been there for months but her own friends say she is a season drinker aka drunk. She walked up the steps herself, if she was so bad off why did her so called friends not help her??? Just because I am expressing MY OPINION and you don’t agree there is no need for your childish name calling. Frank you must have a problem with Gays too bad for you. I would never consent to sex with a man then turn around and say he raped me. 57 Million reasons she got to lie.

    • tommy

      Not Guilty – have you been paying any attention to this case? Or just cherry picking whatever makes your case for defending this rapist look good? If you had, you would know that a forensics expert testified that the trace DNA found on her sheets cold of been there for MONTHS and survived numerous washings. You would find them not guilty b/c you are the type of person to believe something so ridiculous as what these cops are saying. i mean seriously, this women who was apparently puking all over herself and falling between the bed and the wall magically became a sexy vixen who then seduced Moreno with offerings of love making. And he was such a stand up guy that he decided to just lay down with her and spoon her while he sang Bon Jovi and lectured her on the dangers of alcoholism….while visiting her on 4 separate occasions? I actually feel like a moron even writing some of his story…yet that is what he is saying and you actually believe it. Mind boggling

      • Not Guilty

        I believe they did something on both there own free will and she saw a perfect opportunity to claim rape 57 million reasons. Funny she can remember being “raped” but nothing else????? She will make real rape victims look bad. Rape is a henious crime a sickening crime but there are plenty of females that will cry rape for revenge, money, or regret. And I am a freaking female and would never put myself in a position to be so damm drunk I do not know what is going around me. Where were her so called friends??? One even said “she claimed she was raped” then when on the stand tried to say no I said she said she was raped. Wonder how many millions she promised them. A real rape victim is traumized not looking for 57 million dollars. Guess working the retail floor does not pay muc hand what does this say for her company they hire drunks

  • Anna

    There is no amount of money worth going through a rape trial, especially one as controversial and public as this one is. It would have been a whole lot easier for this woman to stand down and not move forward with these charges but she didn’t. It is unfortunate that we can’t even trust the police in this city.

  • Tommy

    This POS is as guilty as they come. His story is so unbelievable, ridiculous, and borderline insane that the lack of DNA will not matter. I would be absolutely insulted if I was a juror and had to listen to this guy say the things he has been saying with the intent of convincing me. Pathetic.

    • Ellen

      Tommy, I;m not saying these guys are innocent, but I do have questions on like say was this consensual or not, is this being done for monetary gains, what is it with the forensics discovery of a sperm sample that didn’t fit the DNA of the police officer in question. And that’s what the jury has to figure out, This has to be done on evidence not emotions.

      • Tommy

        If you were raped by a NYPD officer while he was on duty, your saying you wouldn’t have the right to sue? As for the evidence, there is PLENTY of evidence. Is there a used condom with Moreno’s DNA on it, no…but there is PLENTY of other evidence and logic involved to show how ridiculous this guys story is. People have been convicted on WAY less…and its not like these guys are sympathetic characters. As for the sperm sample, he admitted he used a condom.

  • nyc

    I don’t know if Moreno is guilty of rape. They are certainly guilty of being stupid and breaking laws ! Wish there was some DNA or other pure evidence against them . If there was no chance for any monatary gains from the victim, I would say they are guity for sure !

    • Ellen

      nyc, I feel that there’s not much evidence one way or another. Yes they were stupid, very stupid , but like what you just said is this woman up for monetary gains or what? Intersting to see if she is or not, but I’m just glad I’m not on that jury. Tough call.

    • Tommy

      So if she was raped by two police officers while on duty…she doesn’t have the right to sue the city? I guess that automatically makes her a liar? Brilliant.

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