By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Prosecutors trying to prove that an East Village woman was coherent enough to remember being raped by two police officers played video to a jury Thursday that shows her walking steadily into her apartment building.
The alleged victim, a 27-year-old designer for the Gap, did not stumble or sway as she entered the building on Dec. 7, 2008. Both police officers are seen in the video, one standing beside her with his arm at her back, the other following behind her into the building.
In the video, surveillance tape taken from the neighboring Heather's bar, she is clutching a purse or jacket in one hand while pushing open the unlocked door, with the help of one of the officers, to her East 13th Street vestibule.
According to several witness accounts, the accuser was staggering and extremely drunk less than an hour earlier at Southpaw in Park Slope. The cab driver who brought her home from the Brooklyn club had to call the police because she could not get out of the car and had vomited in the back seat.
That is when police officers Kenneth Moreno, 43, and Franklin Mata, 28, arrived at the scene. The video shows the woman, a long-haired brunette wearing a fuchsia blouse, walking alongside Mata as Moreno trailed them into the building.
The officers then allegedly made three return visits to the apartment, easily entering with a key they had apparently received during their first visit. Prosecutors said she was taken advantage of by Moreno while Mata stood guard during one of those trips.
The longest trip was the fourth, lasting about 40 minutes long, from about 4:27 a.m. until about 5:07 a.m.
The video could help prosecutors argue their case that the alleged victim remembers that the officers who escorted her home, ripped off her clothes and took advantage of her, despite her intoxicated state and her alcohol-induced "blackouts."
She made a hysterical phone call to her friend the next morning before going to Beth Israel Hospital for a rape kit.
"She said that she had been raped and it was a cop," said her friend and boss at Gap, Joanna Kreling, who was nearly brought to tears during her testimony Thursday morning.
Defense lawyers argue the woman was too drunk to remember what happened and that she blacked out for significant portions of the night. They claim she invented the story to profit from $62 million lawsuit against the city.
The defense also said the police were able to re-enter the woman's apartment with a key she had voluntarily given them because she wanted them to return.
The defense has also alluded to the possibility that she was coherent enough to consent to whatever may have happened, although did not admit that either of the officers were intimate with her.
The woman's friend and former personal trainer, Kelvin Ali, also testified Thursday, describing for the jurors how the purported victim was having fun, dancing and at one point was flirting with her gay male friend. A photo of them shows her kissing him on the cheek at the club.
"She was a little bit more hyped up than usual — moving faster," he said.
Ali said he knew she was "pre-gaming" at her apartment before she got to Brooklyn.
Another witness, a visitor in her building, testified Thursday morning that the woman was wobbling and clanking her heels loudly — that she looked very intoxicated — and that she was not speaking to the officers when they escorted her to her fifth-floor apartment after 12 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2008.
"Her heels were sliding on the floor, on the marble. Her hair was in front of her face and she was staggering a little bit," said the witness, Andom Mangum, a visitor to another tenants apartment.
Whether she accurately recalled the events of that night and can convince the jury of that is an essential element of the DA's case.
The woman is expected to take the witness stand on Monday. She has since moved to California for a job transfer.
The officer are each charged with various counts of rape, official misconduct, burglary and other offenses relating to their alleged failure to accurately record where they were while on duty.