By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — This week's anticipated sentencing of two former police officers who were acquitted of raping a drunk woman but convicted of official misconduct may be delayed due to "legal issues," one of their attorneys said Monday.
Kenneth Moreno, 43, and Franklin Mata, 29, had been slated to be sentenced on Tuesday morning by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Gregory Carro.
But Edward Mandery, who represents Mata, and Joe Tacopina, who represents Moreno, are expected to appear in court as scheduled with their clients on Tuesday and ask the judge for a sentencing postponement.
"Several legal issues have come up and we're addressing them," said Mata's attorney, Edward Mandery, who declined to elaborate.
The judge could decline their request and sentence them Tuesday. Carro's sentence could range from no time in jail to up to two years in jail.
Prosecutors are likely to ask the judge to give Moreno and Mata the maximum sentence. After the verdict, there was a public outcry about what was perceived to be an unjust trial result.
Several jurors told DNAinfo they believed the officers had in fact raped the woman — now a 29-year-old clothing industry professional living in California — but that the lack of DNA evidence meant the act could not be proven.
The jury acquitted the officers of rape and burglary charges after a seven week trial on May 26. They convicted them of multiple counts of official misconduct for returning to the woman's apartment three times after helping her get home from a cab.
Moreno admitted at trial to placing a phony 911 call while on patrol, so he could return to the woman's apartment where he and his junior partner had just helped her up the stairs because she could not get out of the cab.
Video surveillance showed the uniformed 9th Precinct officers making a total of four trips throughout the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2008 to the woman's apartment.
It is unclear whether the jury's revelation will influence the judge's sentencing. Experts had said that the judge could take out-of-court information into account at sentencing, including Moreno's public statements calling the victim a liar in the wake of the rape aquittal.
Prosecutors had argued that DNA was often difficult to obtain in rape cases, especially when the accused assailant was wearing a condom.
In emotional testimony the woman gave at trial, she said she woke up to Moreno having sex with her but was too helpless and intoxicated to defend herself.