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Alleged Lookout Takes Stand In NYPD Rape Trial

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TWC News: Alleged Lookout Takes Stand In NYPD Rape Trial
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One of the two New York City Police Department officers on trial for rape took the stand Friday in his own defense.

Officer Franklin Mata is accused of acting as a lookout while his partner, Kenneth Moreno, allegedly raped a woman in her East Village apartment in December 2008.

While in court Mata testified he did not do anything against the law. He says he only helped the alleged victim get into her home after a cabbie called to say she couldn't get out of his taxi because she was so drunk.

The woman admitted in testimony that she was intoxicated and had blacked out repeatedly, but has no doubt she was raped.

During an at times tense cross-examination Mata told the court, "Nothing happened. And I never thought I would be sitting here."

Surveillance video from that night shows the officers re-entering the woman's apartment building three more times.

Mata says his partner was talking to the woman about kicking her drinking habit and told the court, "She and officer Moreno were building up a rapport. They were getting to know each other."

At one point during her questioning, Prosecutor Colleen Balbert yelled at Mata saying he and Moreno didn't go back to check on the woman, but that it was instead "...So he could go back to have sex with her."

"Absolutely not," Mata fired back.

Prosecutors also argue that Moreno made a fake 911 call, which had emergency operators send the officers back to the area of woman's building.

Mata admitted that it was Moreno's voice on the recording.

Defense lawyers maintain that both officers are innocent, and have not decided if Moreno will testify.

Both officers face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The case will resume on Monday.

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