A city police officer accused of raping a drunk woman inside her East Village apartment told jurors for a second day that he tried to help his accuser, but the prosecution bluntly asked Tuesday whether the officer was "making stuff up." NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Testifying for a second day, Officer Kenneth Moreno, seen above, said Tuesday he only was trying to help, not harm the extremely drunk 27-year-old woman he and his partner helped into her apartment, after a 911 call from a cab driver.
With emotion in his voice, Moreno said he could not believe he and his partner, Officer Franklin Mata, are on trial for allegedly raping their accuser in 2008.
"Look where I'm at now, two-and-a-half years later. It doesn't make sense to me," said Moreno. "It was a mistake. I tried to help her."
Moreno admitted he and Mata went back to the woman's East Village home three times on the night in question.
He said the accuser told him she did not have anybody. In an attempt to comfort the woman, he said he told her, "If you stop drinking, I'll be your boyfriend."
The Manhattan district attorney's office says Moreno is not a friend, but a rapist. Prosecutor Coleen Balbert told the officer he went back to the apartment to "take advantage of that drunk, helpless girl."
Prosecutors played a recording of a secret wiretap the accuser made when she confronted Moreno after their encounter. On the recording, Moreno denies several times that there was any sex, but he eventually says he wore a condom.
Defense lawyers said the tape speaks for itself.
"He never said he raped her. You got to listen to that tape. He says 15 or 20 times that nothing happened," said Ed Mandery, Mata's attorney.
The prosecution did get Moreno to say he committed a crime when he made a fake 911 call, so dispatchers would send him back to the woman's building.
Balbert said, "It was more than stupid.... It was criminal."
While questioning the truthfulness of his testimony, the prosecutor yelled at the officer at one point, "Are you just making stuff up as you go?"
Jurors will soon determine whether they believe Moreno's story, as they may start deliberating the fate of the two officers this week.
Both officers face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.