Jason Lee, the former Goldman Sachs banker accused of raping an Irish student at his holiday home in the Hamptons, has been found not guilty.
Judge Barbara Kahn announced the verdict at 2pm today. She noted the refusal of the students brother to travel from Ireland to testify, the Irish Times reported.
On Tuesday the trial at the Suffolk County courthouse, in Riverhead, Long Island, heard the closing arguments in the case. Lee was charged with rape in the first degree, sexual misconduct, and assault in the third degree.
If convicted, he would have faced 25 years in prison.
Jason Lee leaving court after being cleared of rape, sexual misconduct and assault of a J1 student in NY in 2103. pic.twitter.com/GRF1c75RnP— Orlaith Farrell (@OrlaithFarrell) April 29, 2015
It was alleged that following a night out at a local night club Lee barged his way into a bathroom and attacked and raped the Irish student.
Lee’s lawyers argued during the three-week trial that the sexual encounter was consensual. However, according to reports, Andrew Lankler, despite his hour-long closing argument failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the case.
Lankler told the court “This is a case with not one fact or single point of evidence that proves Mr Lee's guilt.
“The only conclusion is to find Mr Lee not guilty."
Lawyer for the prosecution, Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly, said these inconsistencies were only in relation to the "peripheral details" and said Lee's actions showed "consciousness of guilt".
On the night of the attack Lee went missing on the property for two hours. During that time he made 49 phone calls and text messages, including those to taxi companies.
Kelly said “His behavior is indicative of only one thing. He knew he had done a really bad thing. He'd raped a girl and now he had a problem.”
The student and her friend both appeared in court on Long Island to testify during the three-week trial.
The court heard that on the night in question the Irish student, her brother and some friends met with Lee and his friend Rene Duncan at a night club, Georgica, in East Hampton. After a night partying they all returned to Lee and Duncan’s $32,000-per-month beach house and continued the revelry.
The girls stripped to their underwear and swam in the house’s pool. Lee stripped naked. The girls returned to the others in the kitchen ate pizza, chatted and drank.
When the Irish student went downstairs, to change back into her dress out of the shorts and shirt she had pulled on, Lee followed. It is alleged that Lee, still naked, forced his way into the bathroom, knocking her to floor, held her down and raped her. The Irish student eventually managed to kick him in the groin and end the attack.
The police were called, by coincidence, with relation to Duncan’s missing car. Once they were on the scene the Irish student’s brother alerted the officer that there was something wrong with his sister. Lee tried to convince the officer to leave the scene and insisted the situation was under control.
The Irish student got into the car and told the officer what had happened.
The Irish student’s clothes (underpants and a dress) went missing that night. They were posted, months later, to the defense team’s offices.
The court also heard from medical officers that the Irish student’s injuries were consistent with her claims. However they also heard the Lee appeared to show no injuries despite the student’s claims that she fought back.
Lee did not testify at the trial before Judge Barbara Kahn. He also waived the right to a jury trial.