Defense delivers closing arguments in NYPD rape trial

May 13, 2011 2:20:26 PM PDT
Closing arguments have begun in the trial of two New York City police officers charged with the rape of a woman they were called to help get home. Officer Kenneth Moreno's lawyer told jurors Friday "the evidence was not there" to convict. His partner's lawyer and prosecutors have yet to give their summations.

Prosecutors say Moreno raped the woman in December 2008 while Franklin Mata stood watch. Both officers face rape and other charges.

The woman testified that she drunkenly passed out and awoke to being raped after officers escorted her home. Moreno says she made advances and he lay alongside her in bed, but they didn't have sex.

Moreno's attorney spent four long hours summing up the seven week trial for jurors and as he wrapped up his closing arguments, he got choked up.

"I really could have been up there speaking about Ken Moreno's and Franklin Mata's innocence," Joe Tacopina, Officer Moreno's attorney, said.

Moreno walked out of a Manhattan courtroom with his head held down, presumably exhausted.

His attorney Joe Tacopina said four hours wasn't enough time to connect the dots for jurors of why they believe prosecutors didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Her testimony was evolving and changing. We walked through every stitch of inconsistencies with the witnesses," Tacopina said.

Tacopina tried to convince jurors that his client is just a compassionate, recovering alcoholic, who didn't want to leave the victim sick, helpless and alone. But he spent most of the day trying to poke holes in the prosecution's case, first challenging their doctors. He told the jury there's no DNA or other proof the victim had sex with his client.

"Physical evidence certainly weighs heavily in our favor. There is none, right? Physical evidence is not connecting Kenneth Moreno to a crime," he said.

He argued the victim may have been drunk, but she was never unconscious.

"On video she's walking on her own, talking, navigating three flights of stairs in high heels," Tacopina said.

He also addressed a statement Moreno made during cross examination on Wednesday.

"I don't kiss and tell. I have a reputation of not saying...if I have anything with a lady I don't say anything," Moreno testified.

Tacopina explained, "When asked why he didn't say anything to Mata about his interaction - about 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 and I think his genuinous came across on the witness stand."

Tacopina says Moreno wanted to take the stand to tell his side, even though he was grilled for three days.

"To me it was offensive. They guy was up there testifying. You can cross examine them without mocking them, without screaming at them," he said.