Accuser may speak at sentencing of New York police officers

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 28, 2011 4:38 PM
Accuser may speak at sentencing of New York police officers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manhattan prosecutors asked a judge on Tuesday to allow the woman who accused two former New York police officers of raping her to speak at their sentencing on misconduct charges.

A jury in May cleared Kenneth Moreno, 43, accused of raping the fashion executive, and his partner, Franklin Mata, 29, the accused lookout, of rape allegations. But they were found guilty of three counts each of official misconduct. They face up to two years in prison on the misdemeanor charges.

At a hearing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, prosecutors asked the judge to allow the woman to testify at the sentencing, which was delayed until August 8.

"We'd like to have the complainant here to be able to speak," Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert said.

A defense lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said the woman should not be allowed to take the stand at the sentencing as she could not claim to be a victim related to the misdemeanor charges.

The victim, he said, would instead be New York City since the misconduct charges stem from the ex-cops' failure to perform their job.

The former officers, who during the trial admitted placing a fake 911 call and falling asleep on duty, have been fired from the police force.

Defense attorneys also are seeking footage from an HBO documentary on sex crimes prosecutors.

"You have the prosecutors basically discussing this case while being filmed by HBO," defense attorney Ed Mandrey told reporters outside the courthouse.

"So what we have to do is we have to look at that evidence and assess it from a legal perspective," Mandrey said.

The judge did not immediately rule on the requests.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Bohan)