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Lawyers give closing arguments 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

A Manhattan investment banker desperately tried to get four young guests to leave his East Hampton rental two summers ago because they were drunk and noisy, the man's defense attorney argued Tuesday.

But a prosecutor countered that the man was in a hurry because he had just raped one of the visitors, a female tourist from Ireland, and wanted them to leave or to get away himself.

The contradictory versions came as both sides made their closing arguments in the trial of Jason Lee, 38, who is accused of raping the woman in the morning of Aug. 20, 2013, after a night out at a club and a morning of drinking at his rental house on Clover Leaf Lane.

Judge Barbara Kahn, who is hearing the case without a jury in County Court in Riverhead, said she would deliver her verdict at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Lee faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, rape in the first degree.

Defense attorney Andrew Lankler of Manhattan said Lee made several calls for taxis that morning because he was renting a house in a quiet neighborhood and, "He'd had drunken people in his house."

Despite claims of a rape and a victim who screamed and fought back, photos taken of Lee later that day showed no injuries, and the brother and two friends of the woman did not report hearing any commotion or screams, Lankler said.

While Lankler said in his opening statement that the sex was consensual, he did not make that specific argument in the closing, rather arguing the prosecution's case was weak. Lee did not testify.

But Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly said in her closing statement that Lee showed his guilt by hiding in the rear seat of his SUV after police arrived, and by making 49 phone calls or text messages trying to get a taxi and to reach friends.

"He's hiding himself from the police officers. That's consciousness of guilt," Kelly said.

Lee, who was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs at the time, had been out with a friend celebrating his 37th birthday when he met the woman and her friends at a local bar. He left Goldman Sachs last year, a company spokesman said.

After the club closed at 4 a.m., they all went to Lee's house, where the woman and a female friend jumped in a backyard pool in their underwear. The woman said that after she got out of the pool, Lee, who was naked, followed her into a bathroom and raped her.

Kelly said the woman had returned from Ireland to testify in the case, and had testified truthfully about drinking that night. "If there was no rape, why would you fly halfway around the world and come in here to perpetuate a lie?" the prosecutor said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota sat in the front row for the daylong summations and was a frequent observer at the trial.

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