A police officer accused of raping a woman who had to be helped home because she was drunk testified Monday that he did not have sex with her and that she asked him to come back and check on her.
Officer Kenneth Moreno took the stand in the trial on Monday.
Asked if he committed rape, Moreno said "no." Asked if he had sex with the woman, he answered "no."
He said the woman also held his hand and said to him: "Please come back, don't leave me yet."
Moreno took the stand after his partner, Franklin Mata, spent several hours testifying on Friday and Monday. Mata is accused of standing lookout during the alleged rape.
Mata told the jury Monday that he was taking a nap and can't be sure what happened while his partner was alone in a bedroom with the woman.
But he also said he didn't believe Moreno had violated the woman.
"I know Ken ... that Ken wouldn't do a thing like that," Mata said, under stringent questioning by a prosecutor.
He also said that at one point in the night, he heard the woman giggle and saw her touch Moreno's arm while she and Moreno were in her bathroom so she could vomit.
"It seemed flirty," Mata concluded.
Both Mata and Moreno are on trial in the December 2008 incident.
A taxi driver had called them to help a drunken woman get out of his cab and into her Manhattan apartment. The officers then returned to her apartment three times within hours, without telling dispatchers they were there or noting the visits in logs.
At one point when they were at her apartment, they instead indicated they were responding to what prosecutors say was a phony 911 call Moreno placed about a homeless person sleeping in a building lobby.
Mata said he didn't know at the time about the source of the call. He said he didn't make official note of the visits to the woman because "I didn't think we were doing anything wrong by running up to check on this person."
Moreno said on that stand that he did make the call, but it was because he wanted to go back and let the woman know "someone was going to be there for her."
The woman, who has a corporate job in fashion and is now 29, testified last month that her memories of that night are intermittent and she passed out at times. But she said she unmistakably recalls waking up to being raped in her bedroom and was certain her attacker was one of the officers who had escorted her upstairs.
Moreno's lawyer says she wasn't raped and misremembers what happened. In a secretly taped conversation with her days later, Moreno alternately denied having sex with her and seemed to admit it, twice saying he'd used a condom. His lawyer says the seemingly incriminating statements were efforts to mollify the woman.
Mata and Moreno have been suspended until a Police Department review after their trial. If convicted, each could face up to 25 years in prison.