As rape trial starts, ex-Goldman banker says sex was consensual

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2015 6:11 PM

By Edward Krudy

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (Reuters) - Lawyers for a former Goldman Sachs managing director whose trial began on Wednesday on charges of raping an Irish student in the bathroom of a home he rented on New York's Long Island said the sex was consensual.

Prosecutors say Jason Lee, 38, met the woman and friends at a restaurant and bar and invited them back to his rental home in the upscale resort town of East Hampton on Long Island in August 2013.

The woman, who was 20 years old at the time, told police that Lee forced his way into the bathroom, pinned her down and raped her.

Prosecutors say police found Lee hiding in the back seat of his Range Rover that was parked outside the house. Prosecutors said he had made numerous attempts to call taxis in an apparent effort to leave the scene.

Lee, who faces up to 25 years in prison and is free on $100,000 bail, has opted for a trial in front of acting Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kahn instead of the more common trial by jury. His lawyers did not give a reason.

Lee's attorney, Andrew Lankler, said the sex was consensual even though it may have been "regrettable consensual sex." Lankler said the woman and her friend had swum in Lee's pool in their underwear, and Lee had joined them naked before the alleged rape took place.

Lee arrived at the Cromarty Court Complex in Riverhead, New York, wearing a dark suit and tie and accompanied by his wife. In the court room Lee sat at a desk surrounded by four members of his legal team, took notes and flicked through court documents.

The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc managing director headed convertible bond banking, but was put on leave after rape charges were filed in August 2013 and left the bank soon thereafter.

Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly drew a contrast between Lee's groomed appearance in court and the man encountered by the woman he is charged with raping.

"What you see is not always what you get," Kelly said. "What she encountered was a man who wanted one thing and one thing only and that was sex, and he used her to get it."

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Additional reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York; Editing by Dan Wilchins and Lisa Shumaker)