Cops on Trial for Rape Get Some Charges Thrown Out, Still Face Tale of the Tape

Cops Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, accused in the December 2008 rape of a drunken woman they helped home, won a minor victory this morning in court, right before jury selection in their long-delayed trial. Twelve charges were dismissed, but that was just paperwork stuff. The 27-year-old East Village fashion exec was apparently too drunk to remember exactly what happened to her that night, but she was sober enough a few days later to secretly tape, in cahoots with the D.A., a conversation with Moreno. Key passage: She says, "Did you wear a condom — yes or no?" Moreno replies, "Yes, I did. You don't have to worry about any diseases or getting pregnant."

But that's not even the juiciest part.

Moreno is accused of raping the semi-conscious woman while Mata stood lookout. She had gotten shit-faced at a club and had vomited in a cab. The cops were called and took her home. When she sobered up in the next day or two, she told girlfriends that "the police" raped her, and the D.A. sent her wired to talk to Moreno outside his precinct house.

As the Post's Brad Hamilton revealed in a February 20 story, the conversation continued like this:

Woman: "Was it only you?"

Moreno: "It was only me."

Moreno: "If you stop drinking, I'll be your boyfriend. I'm not a bad man. I'm a good friend to have."

Excellent boyfriend material, but only if he beats this rap.

See Hamilton's story for the full transcript.

But the trial's no slam-dunk for prosecutors. The tape is bad news for the two cops, but the prosecutors seem so far to be muddled and confused in some areas of the twisty-turny case, and defense attorney Joe Tacopina, a familiar mug who has won verdicts for many losers (including cops in the Patrick Dorismond and Abner Louima cases), has plenty of weak points to jab at.

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