Former NYC investment banker faces Hamptons rape trial

AP News
Posted: Apr 08, 2015 2:28 PM
Former NYC investment banker faces Hamptons rape trial

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A former New York City investment banker wearing no clothes forced his way into a bathroom and raped a woman in his home hours after meeting her at a Hamptons nightclub while celebrating his birthday, a prosecutor said Wednesday, while a defense attorney argued the encounter was the result of consensual sex.

Opening statements began Wednesday in the bench trial of Jason Lee, 38, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, who was arrested in August 2013 after the woman accused him of attacking her in a bathroom at the home he had rented with his wife in the summer resort town of East Hampton.

Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly said Lee busted through a bathroom door while nude — knocking the woman to the ground — and jumped on top of her and raped her as she attempted to fight him off.

"It was a contest of wills," Kelly said. "Unfortunately, the defendant won."

Lee has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail. He had opted for a non-jury trial before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn. His attorney, Andrew Lankler, told the judge that the sex was consensual. He said several other people were in the living room, just feet from the bathroom, and no one heard any screaming.

"The evidence is consistent with consensual sex, perhaps regrettable consensual sex," Lankler said in his opening remarks.

The victim was a 20-year-old woman who was partying with her brother and some friends at a Hamptons night club, Kelly said. She met Lee and one of his friends at the club and partied and drank alcohol with them until about 4 a.m., when they all went back to the house that Lee was renting in East Hampton, Kelly said.

The prosecutor noted that Lee's wife, Alicia, did not accompany him to the East Hampton home for the birthday celebration, but remained at their home in New York City. Lee's wife held his hand as the couple walked into the courtroom on Wednesday morning; neither spoke to reporters.

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The victim and one of her friends jumped in a backyard pool in their underwear, Kelly said. Lee jumped in the pool naked, which eventually made the girls uncomfortable, so they returned to the house, Kelly said. The victim was changing her clothes in the bathroom when the attack occurred, Kelly said.

Lankler said photographs taken after the arrest prove that it was not an attack because Lee "doesn't have a scratch on him. Not a mark."

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said Lee left the firm sometime last year; he had worked in the equity capital markets department. His current employment status was not clear.

Kelly said the woman was treated at a hospital following the incident and showed injuries consistent with being sexually assaulted.

She said the woman was from Ireland but was working in the U.S. at the time. She is expected to testify during the trial.