NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A woman who claims two on-duty NYPD cops raped her in her East Village apartment is suing the city for $62 million, the officers’ lawyers said Monday.
The victim’s lawsuit is under seal in Manhattan federal court, but lawyers made the revelation in a hearing before jury selection began in the long-delayed criminal trial of suspended officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.
Prosecutors also said during the hearing that at least five witnesses whom the victim initially told about the rape may testify against the cops.
“[The victim told the witnesses] she’d been raped,” Assistant District Attorney Colleen Balbert told a judge.
The officers are accused of raping the semi-conscious woman in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2008, after responding to a 911 call to help into her apartment.
Balbert said the victim immediately told four of her neighbors when she awoke that morning. About an hour later, she told her boss, who met her at a hospital.
Defense lawyers, who claim the woman was too drunk to remember what happened, tried unsuccessfully to get the woman’s boss bounced as a witness because she heard about the claims after the initial “outcry” to her neighbors.
“That is not immediate, she had her outcry,” Moreno’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said, trying to limit the damage multiple witnesses could create.
Testimony of what another person said is considered hearsay and is barred at trial – except when it’s considered an initial “outcry” statement.
The lawyers for the cops also said the woman “collaborated” with her friends, suggesting she concocted the rape story.
The legal arguments came before more than 100 prospective jurors were called into the courtroom. Several panel members gasped as the judge described the rape allegations against the cops.
Before the jury questioning, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro dismissed a dozen misdemeanor official misconduct charges lodged against the cops on the grounds they were not crimes but patrol guide violations.
He allowed four official misconduct charges to stand, including failing to call an ambulance and failing to report that they returned to her apartment three times that night.
The officers still face a litany of charges, including felony counts of rape and burglary, and up to 25 years in prison.