Updated 02/17/2010 10:20 PM
Jury Begins Deliberations In NYPD Sodomy Trial
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Jurors in the trial of three police officers involved in the alleged sodomizing of a Brooklyn man have been handed the case following closing arguments Wednesday by the prosecution.
Officer Richard Kern is accused of sodomizing Michael Mineo with a retractable police baton while arresting him inside of a Prospect Park subway station in October 2008.
Officer Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz are accused of covering up the alleged attack.
Defense attorneys have argued the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and questioned the credibility of the evidence as well as the witnesses, especially Mineo, who is a former gang member.
Morales's attorney says there is no conclusive evidence that it was Mineo's DNA on Kern's ASP baton, calling the prosecution's analysis "bogus."
The defense attorney also challenged a square hole found in Mineo's underwear, saying a retractable baton could not have caused the tear, and claimed there was no blunt-force trauma to the alleged victim's anus.
Morales's attorney even went as far as accusing the prosecution of prosecutorial misconduct.
"They took Mineo's allegations, they ran with it," said defense attorney Richard Murray. "They ignored the scientific evidence in the case. They ignored what the police laboratory told them."
The prosecuting lawyer told jurors that he understands if they have doubts about Mineo's credibility and see inconsistencies with Mineo's story. Yet the prosecutor said witnesses, including a police officer who put his career on the line by testifying, back up Mineo's allegations.
The prosecution also argued that the physical evidence does support that his client suffered a rectal tear at the hands of Officer Kern. They also said surveillance video of Mineo taken after the alleged incident shows that he had trouble walking.
"Witnesses came and took the stand to say that Michael Mineo was screaming that someone had shoved a walkie-talkie up his [rectum]," said prosecutor Charles Guria. "Before there were lawsuits, Michael Mineo was showing blood on his hands and indicating that something had been done to him rectally. Before there were lawsuits, Michael Mineo was being convinced to go to a hospital."
Lastly, Guria questioned why, if Mineo had a warrant out for his arrest and had been resisting arrest, the police let him walk away.
Jurors reviewed evidence for only a couple of hours this afternoon before the judge called a recess until 10 a.m. Thursday.
Kern faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, while Morales and Cruz face up to four years each.