Kenneth Moreno: Jury to decide NYC cop’s cuddle claimJames A. Cohen in Metro, May 17, 2011
Legal experts say they would be shocked if the 12-person jury hands out anything less than a “guilty” verdict for the NYPD officer accused of raping a woman.
Prosecutors wrapped up their final arguments yesterday in the trial of Officer Kenneth Moreno, accused of rape, and his partner, Officer Franklin Mata, who allegedly stood lookout.
“They were supposed to be New York’s Finest,” Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert said of Moreno and Mata. “But on Dec. 7, 2008, they were New York’s worst.”
Today, the five-woman, seven-man jury will begin their deliberations. If found guilty, both cops could face up to 25 years in prison.
Moreno admitted making a fake 911 call to get back to the woman’s apartment the night of the alleged rape. On the witness stand, he said they spooned in her bed and he might have kissed her shoulder.
“I’m expecting a guilty verdict. The defense’s story is perhaps the most bizarre I’ve ever heard,” said James Cohen, a criminal defense professor at Fordham Law School, who did not work on the case.
“For two uniformed cops to admit going back to the apartment, to admit having cuddled with a woman drunk out her of mind, is absurd,” he said.
Could Mata go free?
Officer Franklin Mata, who said he fell asleep on the woman’s couch and doesn’t know what happened on the other side of the bedroom door, may get off, several legal experts predicted.
“The thing that may get the younger officer acquitted is the defense that he was under the influence of the older, much more sinister cop,” said Eugene O’Donnell, law professor at John Jay College and a former New York City prosecutor. “They’ll say, ‘This poor kid is just a tagalong, a dupe.’”