Prosecutors rushed to judgment when they accused a Manhattan financial worker of raping a woman in the man's East Hampton summer rental two years ago, his lawyer argued Wednesday.
The evidence will show the sex was consensual and occurred after a night of partying, defense attorney Andrew Lankler said in his opening statement at the trial of Jason Lee, 38, on charges of rape and assault.
But Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly said in her opening that Lee forced his way into the bathroom of the house on Clover Leaf Lane where the woman was changing clothes and raped her. Judge Barbara Kahn is hearing the case without a jury in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead.PhotosRecent LI mug shotsDataLI crime stats
Lankler said that in August 2013 Lee and a friend were celebrating his 37th birthday at Georgica Restaurant and Lounge in Wainscott when they met the woman, who was with her brothers and some friends.
All were drinking, and Lee and the woman were photographed together at the lounge, Lankler said. Everyone then went to the house on Clover Leaf Lane after the lounge closed about 4 a.m. and they continued to drink, and snacked on cold pizza, he said.
The woman and a female friend jumped into a backyard pool, and a naked Lee jumped in some time later, the attorney said. The women "stayed in the pool," he said.
The prosecutor told the judge the rape occurred later that morning when the woman went into a downstairs bathroom to change into a dress she had been wearing before going into the pool.
Lee tried to force his way into the bathroom, and the woman resisted, "but she simply wasn't strong enough," the prosecutor said.
Lee knocked the door open with such force that the woman was thrown to the floor, where he raped her, and screamed at her to shut up, the prosecutor said.
The woman fought and screamed, and was finally able to break free by kicking Lee in the groin, the prosecutor said. "He has no regard for this 20-year-old Irish girl," Kelly said.
After the attack, the woman was examined by a nurse and had injuries that were consistent with her account of the attack, Kelly said.
Lankler said none of the other people in the house at the time reported hearing any screams, and photographs taken of every part of Lee's body the next day show "he doesn't have a scratch on him, not a mark."
He said prosecutors rushed the case to a grand jury the day after the attack and did not wait to sort out the conflicting statements given by people in the house.
"The evidence is consistent with consensual sex, perhaps regrettable consensual sex," Lankler said.
Lee was a managing director at Goldman Sachs at the time of his arrest. He left the firm last year, a company spokesman said.