A jury is scheduled to start deliberating today in the case of a Memphis-area businessman accused of rape, after his defense lawyer argued Thursday that women were “especially good” at lying.
Defense lawyer Steve Farese delivered his closing argument Thursday to try and convince the jury of 11 women and three men that his client was innocent.
“We've all been lied to. There's always a reason behind the lie,” Farese told the jury, according to WMC Action News 5. “People can be really good at lying. Women can be especially good at it, because they are the weaker sex.”
“We want to protect them and not have anybody take advantage of them,” he continued, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “At least I do.”
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Farese’s client, Mark Giannini, had been charged with raping three women since 2002, the paper reported. The trial this week involved three counts of aggravated rape against one woman, who said she was assaulted when she arrived at the businessman’s mansion in Eads, Tenn. to take a job as a housekeeper.
When she spoke during the trial, the 28-year-old woman, who had been working as a server at a nearby Waffle House, said that Giannini began forcibly kissing her after he had given her a tour of the house. When she told him she wanted to leave, he made her take her clothes off and assaulted her, she testified.
“I was crying. I wanted for him to stop,” she recalled on the stand, according to the Commercial Appeal. The victim had bruises afterward that required hospital attention, prosecutors said.
But Giannini’s lawyers argued the sex was consensual and that the woman was not credible because of a history connected to drug smuggling, Fox 13 reported. The businessman himself did not testify at the trial.
Local advocates criticized Farese’s statements shortly after they were made. Farese also implied in his statement that the woman’s clothing was not admitted as evidence because it was a revealing halter top that might hurt her credibility.
“He stood in front of 11 women on a jury and said women are liars?” said Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council, according to the Commercial Appeal. “That just doesn't even make the first bit of sense and it's despicable.
“What we wear, where we are, whether we are drunk, is not the reason for rape,” she added to the paper. “Rape happens because men rape ... and it's wrong. It's a crime.”
Farese, in comments to the paper, defended his closing statement Thursday.
“My job is not to care if anybody gets offended,” Farese said to the paper. “Smart people will see it for what it is.”