Closing Arguments Begin in NYPD Rape Trial

By John Noel
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 5:31 PM EDT
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Cop Rape Trial Closings Begin

Kenneth Moreno, at left, and Franklin Mata, at right, enter court.

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Closing arguments have begun in the trial of two NYPD officers charged with the rape of a woman they were called to help get home.

Officer Kenneth Moreno's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, told jurors Friday "the evidence was not there" to convict. He told jurors the accuser told friends the next day "I think something bad happened. I think I was raped. I believe I was raped. I may have been raped."

"If she can't be certain, how can you be?" Tacopina said.

His partner's lawyer and prosecutors are expected to give their summations on Monday.

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.

Mata told jurors he was napping in her living room while the others were in the bedroom, but he didn't believe Moreno had violated the woman because he "wouldn't do something like that."

When the woman confronted Moreno in a secretly taped conversation several days after the encounter, he repeatedly denied they'd had sex — but he also said "yes" twice when she asked whether he'd used a condom. He testified that he was just trying to pacify her.

There's no DNA evidence in the case, and experts debated the significance of an internal mark found during an examination of the woman the next day. A forensic examiner who testified for prosecutors said the mark could be a result of a rape; a gynecologist who testified for the defense said it was negligible, and he didn't interpret it as a sign of a rape.

The woman, now 29, has sued the city for $57 million over the incident, a fact Tacopina also underscored in his summation. She told jurors last month she sued because she wanted to hold the officers "accountable for what they did to me."

Moreno, 43, has been an officer for 17 years. Mata, 29, has been on the force for about five years. They have been suspended until a police department review after their trial.

If convicted, they could face up to 25 years in prison.

Arguments ended early Friday because a juror had to leave town for an engagement. They are expected to resume Monday.

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