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Battle over bruises and saliva evidence in Jason Lee rape trial

Jason Lee arrives with his wife at the

Jason Lee arrives with his wife at the Suffolk County courthouse in Riverhead on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

The Irish tourist who accused a Manhattan investment banker of raping her two summers ago had bruises and scrapes consistent with her account of what happened, a sexual assault nurse examiner testified Thursday in Suffolk County Court.

But during cross-examination by defense attorney Andrew Lankler of Manhattan, Tara Accavallo said she could not tell how old the bruises were and said injury to her genital area could also be consistent with consensual sex.

The testimony came during the nonjury trial of Jason Lee, 38, who is charged with first-degree rape. Lankler has argued to Judge Barbara Kahn that the sexual encounter on the bathroom floor of Lee's East Hampton rental home was consensual.

During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Shalvey in Riverhead, Accavallo said the woman, 20 at the time, was trembling and crying during the four-hour exam at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.

Accavallo said the woman had a large bruise on her right upper hip and a smaller one on the front of the same hip. Another bruise with a scrape on it was on her lower back, and there was a genital injury as well.

A long scratch on her left leg was consistent with the woman's description of injuring herself while trying to pull her underwear back up during the attack, Accavallo said.

During Lankler's questioning, Accavallo said the woman told her none of the bruises existed before the attack, but she couldn't independently prove or disprove it.

"I can't speak to the date of a bruise," she said.

Later, forensic scientist Karen Galindo of the Suffolk Crime Lab testified that saliva found on the front of Lee's shorts and the front left pocket came from the woman. During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly, Galindo said if Lee muffled the woman with his hand, as she testified, it would be possible for his hand, afterward, to wipe her saliva and DNA onto his shorts.

But during questioning by Lankler, Galindo said it was also possible for the woman's DNA to be on the front of the shorts if Lee put them on after consensual oral sex.

Kelly attacked that scenario with a single, explicit question to Galindo suggesting the defense couldn't account for the woman's saliva being on Lee's pocket. Galindo agreed with Kelly.

When the woman testified Tuesday after returning from Ireland, Lankler did not ask if the sex was consensual. At no time has the woman said any oral sex with Lee occurred, consensual or forced.

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