A defense lawyer is being criticized for telling a Tennessee jury that women are “especially good” at lying “because they're the weaker sex.”
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reports a jury on Friday found wealthy businessman Mark Giannini not guilty of three counts of rape. The newspaper said the woman he was accused of raping left crying and screaming.
Attorney Steve Farese made the comments during closing arguments in the case. Giannini had been accused of raping the woman when she came to his house for a job interview. Farese maintains that the sex was consensual and has questioned the woman's credibility.
Memphis Area Women's Council executive director Deborah Clubb calls Farese's comments “absolutely despicable.”
Farese told the newspaper that his job “is not to care if anybody gets offended” and “smart people will see it for what it is.”
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a statement that prosecutors are “deeply disappointed” in the outcome but respect the jury's verdict.
“The victim in this case exhibited great strength and courage,” Weirich said. “We are saddened for her and hope that this result does not discourage other victims from speaking up.”
Farese and other defense lawyers addressed the media outside the courtroom after the verdict.
“We thought all along our client was not guilty,” Farese said. “We knew we had a difficult hill to climb. We knew that he had been convicted by public opinion and we were very, very concerned and now we're very, very pleased.”