Defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina worked on smearing the accuser yesterday at the trial of New York City Police Department officer Kenneth Moreno and his alleged lookout Franklin Mata, who prosecutors say raped a drunk East Village woman when they were called to her apartment to assist her from a cab to her bed. “She could ‘pound it,’ so to speak, correct? Tacopina asked the witness Pedro Vidallon, in a disgusting example of rape culture at its most oppressive, blaming the victim at every turn as out of control and irresponsible. It’s the logical next step after painting the accuser as a slut. The defense aims to convince jurors that no sex took place on that night, as the officers claim, but also that if it did, the woman was not too drunk to agree to intercourse.
“Did she drink five red bull and vodkas often in one night?” the lawyer asked, as if she could not be raped based on her choice of beverage, or quantity. “Once in a while,” answered the witness. “Did she appear to have a drinking problem?”
“No,” he answered.
As we’ve explained, the cops made three return visits to the woman’s apartment after the alleged rape, which prosecutors believe was the men attempting to smooth over their crime. (Moreno says he was being “helpful.”) Wearing a recording device, the woman later confronted Moreno about having sex, which he denied until finally relenting and saying that at least he wore a condom.
The Post reports that “a slight bruise to the victim’s cervix is consistent with her account of being attacked while prone on her stomach.”
With testimony in its fourth week, the drinking bit is the ugliest to make the news, though the rest is quite ugly too. In her testimony, the woman recalled waking up in a pile of her own vomit, but only after becoming momentarily alert after being passed out and hearing “the rustling of clothing and very loud Velcro ripping,” which prosecutors say was the removal of a bullet-proof vest, before she says she was raped.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 26, 2011