Businessman acquitted of rape charges after his lawyer argues women are 'especially good at lying'

Emily Shugerman
AP Photo/Russell Ingle

A wealthy businessman has been acquitted of rape charges after his lawyer argued that women are “especially good” at lying.

Mark Giannini was accused of raping a young woman in 2014, after luring her to his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee under the guise of a job interview for the position of housekeeper.

The woman testified that the 51-year-old choked and raped her and the next thing she remembered she was waking up at the hospital.

Investigators also alleged that Mr Giannini forced the victim to swallow urine, faeces, and blood.

But Mr Giannini's defence team said the sex was consensual and questioned the woman's credibility.

"People can be very good at lying," his attorney Steve Farese told Memphis Criminal Court in closing arguments. "Women can be especially good at it because they're the weaker sex."

Pointing out that she had a criminal background including drug smuggling, he said that the victim “knew what she was doing.”

He added that she had worn a "sexy top" to the interview, which he called "a contraption”.

Mr Farese also argued that the victim only pressed criminal charges to gain an advantage in her $6m (£4.6m) lawsuit against Mr Giannini.

“Her explanation was seeking justice, my explanation is when she’s up here on the stand crying on cue that she was crying for dollars,” Mr Farese said.

Local media reports the victim began to cry when the “not guilty verdict” was read.

This is the first of three separate rape charges against Mr Giannini, dating back to an incident in 2002. If he had been found guilty, he faced up to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mr Farese later defended his controversial style of argument in an interview with local media.

He said his job was "not to care if anybody gets offended," adding: "Smart people will see it for what it is."