Banker in rape case had no signs of injuries, court hears
Former Goldman Sachs executive Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish student
Former New York City investment banker Jason Lee with his wife Alicia at Suffolk County Court on Wednesday. Photograph: AP Photo/Frank Eltman
1 Clover Leaf Lane in East Hampton, in the US, the house where banker Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish student. Photograph: Simon Carswell
The banker accused of raping an Irish J-1 student at a rented summer house in the Hamptons, New York in 2013 had no signs of any injuries on the day of the alleged attack, a local detective told a US court.
On the second day of the trial of former Goldman Sachs executive Jason Lee (38), Detective Ryan Hogan, of East Hampton Town Police Department, testified that he collected the clothes worn by the accused on the day he is alleged to have raped and assaulted the Irish girl at a party at his rented house on August 20th, 2013.
Prosecutors say he he assaulted and raped the woman after following her naked into a downstairs bathroom of the house, 1 Clover Leaf Lane in East Hampton. He and a friend, Rene Duncan, had met the woman, her brother and friends at a nightclub in East Hampton, a holiday destination popular with New Yorkers.
Mr Lee has pleaded not guilty, claiming he and the Irish student had consensual sex.
The Irish student was visiting her brother in nearby Montauk, a seaside resort on the east end of Long Island where many students from Ireland spend summers working on temporary J-1 visas.
Detective Hogan told New York State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kahn that he collected a pair of khaki shorts, a grey shirt and white underwear that Mr Lee was wearing that day and that he photographed him at the nearby East Hampton police headquarters.
Questioned by one of Mr Lee’s defence lawyers, Andrew Lankler, whether the accused had any injuries on his body after the alleged assault, Mr Hogan said he had “a little cut on the cuticle of his thumb.”
Asked whether this was consistent with someone who chewed their fingernails, the detective agreed that it was as he chewed his nails.
A dispatcher at a taxi company in Montauk, Yadira Holandes-Vlazquez, testified that she received a phone call from a man seeking a cab to be sent to 1 Clover Leaf Lane in East Hampton just after she started working at 6am.
She did not ask the caller for his name, she said, as it was company policy not to seek names. She told the court he wanted to go to the Surf Lodge hotel in Montauk, about a 25-minute journey from the East Hampton house, she said.
She told the driver to make some time to get there as the caller had told her that it was an emergency.
The dispatcher told the court that the male caller was “like agitated, like he was definitely under stress.”
He called back a short time later “upset,” she said, asking: “Where the fuck is my taxi?”
The prosecution maintains that Mr Lee tried to flee the scene after police arrived at the East Hampton house at 6.34am by calling for a cab multiple times while he hid in the back seat of his Range Rover. The vehicle was parked in the driveway while officers searched the house.
Ms Holandes-Vlazquez confirmed she had previously testified to a grand jury that the caller had sounded like a “typical city American who wanted everything now”.
Mr Lankler asked her if he “sounded like a pushy New Yorker who wanted his cab and wanted it now?” “Yes,” she replied.
Mr Hogan testified he had interviewed the taxi dispatcher after the alleged attack about taking the calls from the defendant.
Testifying in the afternoon, retired Detective William Rathjen, a fingerprint expert with Suffolk County Police Department, told the court that two fingerprints in the middle of the inside door of one of the two downstairs bathrooms belonged to the alleged victim.
He was unable to identify the person who left swipe marks and a palm print – which were above those two identified fingerprints – but said that from 20 years’ experience as a crime scene officer it would appear they all came from the same person and “developed very quickly” from the top light prints to the lower heavier prints.
Under questioning by prosecutor Kerriann Kelly, Mr Rathjen, who retired in January, said that the light to heavy prints to the inside of the door of bathroom on the northside of the East Hampton house could have been created as a result of pressure being applied by someone trying to open the door from the outside.
Ms Kelly told the court that Mr Lee pushed the door open so strongly to get to the Irish student in the bathroom that the alleged victim “left fingerprints behind her as proof” of his forced entry as she failed to stop him from entering the room where he raped her.
In response to questions from Mr Lankler, for the accused, the detective agreed that he was unable to say with a degree of scientific certainty that the same person created the swipe marks and palm print above the fingerprints identified as belonging to the alleged victim, or that she made the swipe marks and palm print higher up the door.
He was initially unable to match fingerprints taken from the bathroom with prints taken from the Irish student at the East Hampton Police Department immediately after the alleged rape because they were “not taken very well” and he was not able to use them.
A second set of fingerprints that he could use to check with prints left in the bathroom were provided to him by an Irish Detective Garda who took the fingerprints from the student in Ireland in April last year.
Numerous photographs of the finger-printed door, as well as the house and Mr Lee’s car, were presented to the court in evidence.
The trial continues at a criminal court complex in Riverhead, a small town 80 miles east of Manhattan in Suffolk County, which includes the Hamptons and the east end of Long Island.