Why the Cuddle Cop Jurors Ruled ‘Not Guilty’

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Photo: J.B. Nicholas/Splash News

Judging by the reaction in the comments yesterday, most people who had been following along with the trial of NYPD officers Kenneth Mata and Joseph Moreno were shocked when the jury came back with a not guilty verdict on the charge of rape. How did not a single juror think they did it? Wouldn't it be nice to know what they were thinking? Fortunately, some of those jurors are happy to share.

For starters, the woman's testimony seemed artificial:

"When her testimony was read back without her in the mix, it was much easier for us to see what she said,” Mr. Schimenti said. “And it sounded like a construct from the prosecution."

Moreno's secretly recorded "confession" about wearing a condom wasn't sincere:

“To me the ‘control meet’ played a main factor,” Mr. Casiano said. “You need to hear the ‘control meet.’ You need to read it. He wasn’t trying to confess anything. He was trying to get away from her outside his precinct. She was trying to attack him.”

Mr. Casiano said that before Officer Moreno had said he had worn a condom, he had made statements that exonerated him.

In the end, they just couldn't know beyond a reasonable doubt what had happened:

"It came down to he said/she said," said juror Eric Casiano, 33, a security officer. "There were holes in his and her stories."

"The law says if you're not sure, if there is reasonable doubt, you have to say not guilty," he added.

Which doesn't mean they didn't have their suspicions:

“I definitely thought some funny business went on,” said the alternate juror, who insisted on anonymity. “Is it possible they raped her? Sure.”

NYPD cops found not guilty of rape: 'The prosecution really failed to prove their case,' juror says [NYDN]
Despite Its ‘Great Case,’ Jurors Say, Prosecution Couldn’t Prove Claim of Sexual Assault [NYT]