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Both sides rest in trial of ex-HPD officer accused of raping woman

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Both sides have rested in the trial of a former Houston police officer accused of raping a woman while on duty. Abraham Joseph did not take the stand in his own defense.

Prosecutors allege Joseph, while he was in uniform and on duty, sexually assaulted a night club waitress in handcuffs back in January 2011.

Family members of the ex-officer were the courtroom Tuesday quietly watching as his defense attorneys quickly went through half a dozen witnesses trying to raise doubt over the prosecution's sexual assault case.

"We really wanted to highlight some of the facts the state didn't bring out themselves, or that witnesses were unclear about," said defense attorney Nicole Deborde.

The defense put a University of Houston law professor on the stand who testified that crime victims who are undocumented can sometimes be granted a special visa, paving a way to legal status. The immigration status of the alledged rape victim has been a central focus for defense attorneys.

"He may be banking on that one juror in there, two jurors, saying he's a cop, she's an illegal immigrant, therefore I have reasonable doubt," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

He says the immigration status is one of the few options defense attorneys have in this case, since they have admitted that there was sexual contact between Joseph and the alleged victim. The defense did not put Joseph on the stand. Androphy says that is a risk, especially after Monday's testimony of a another waitress in the same night club who also said Joseph sexually assaulted her.

"But when the state puts on a witness who's credible and puts on a good story, and puts on a witness to back up, you don't have to testify, but you're a fool if you don't," Androphy said.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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houston police department, local, miya shay
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