I originally predicted that Khan was going to get convicted in the Yale rape case. I thought the victim, ie., Anita, did a good job on the witness stand. She seemed honest and credible. Anita’s friends were also credible witnesses. But I didn’t see all the evidence. Sitting in the gallery did not allow me to see the videotape of Khan and Anita walking across Yale campus on the evening of the alleged rape. The jurors played the videotape five times during deliberations. All I heard was testimony from Anita talking about her drunkenness, stumbling and hanging onto Khan as she walked. All I heard was State’s attorney Michael Pepper argue over and over again that the videotape showed Anita stumbling and holding onto Khan in a drunken sleepwalking stupor. The jurors saw an entirely different videotape. The jurors I spoke with said they saw Anita smiling and chatting with Khan on the videotape. Anita was not stumbling, not drunk and not sleepwalking.
I spoke with a male juror who deliberated in the case. I also spoke with a female juror who was an alternate. I will call them Jack and Jill in order to protect their identities. Jack and Jill both told me that it was very easy for them to conclude that Khan was completely innocent.
I am the first one to speak out on behalf of a victim of rape. I have vigorously pursued the case of Rabbi Daniel Greer on behalf of children who were raped by this depraved Goat. Victims whom I personally knew. But I am not going to take the side of a victim just because she claims she was a victim. I need solid proof.
Jurors Jack and Jill were very upset that Khan was put through this trial. They wanted to know how and why the State brought this case in the first place. As an attorney, suspended no less, all I could do was explain the process of how someone is arrested by the police and then brought to the criminal court where the case is handled by the State’s Attorneys Office. I told them that once charges are filed the State is reluctant to drop the charges because of public and political pressure. The prosecutors don’t want the public to think that they make mistakes. Plus prosecutors have to work with police officers every day. The blue wall does not just apply to the cops. The prosecutors are also part of that wall.
I wish I could tell the jurors to contact the State’s Attorney’s Office and ask the State’s Attorney to provide an explanation as to why Khan was prosecuted. So far the only words coming out of the State’s Attorney’s Office after the verdict have been, “no comment.” No comment? Employees at the State’s Attorneys Office are public servants. Since when have public servants not been required to answer to the public?
The jurors saw many holes in the State’s case. The biggest hole was Anita’s testimony. As I mentioned in my previous blogs, Anita wore the same clothes for two days, she wore no makeup, she had bags under her eyes, she cried her eyes out, and she expressed constant anger and hostility towards Khan. She emphasized the word “rape” every time she spoke. It was as if she was raped ten minutes before she testified. Anita testified that she took the morning after pill because the thought of having Khan’s baby was repulsive to her. Repulsive? Anita testified that she hardly knew Khan. Anita testified she could hardly remember the alleged rape. Yet having Khan’s baby would be repulsive?
Anita had quick responses to every question Norm asked her on cross examination. Norm may be loud, annoying and obnoxious, but he knows how to cross examine a witness. I would have expected Norm to score at least few points with Anita. No witness survives cross examination unscathed. But Norm got nowhere with Anita. Anita was very adept at answering Norm’s questions. She knew exactly what to say at exactly the right moment. And when Norm pushed her too hard, she cried. She cried for almost three days about an event that happened two years ago that she admittedly was too drunk to remember. The jurors told me that she should have been awarded the Oscar for her performance. No joke.
In the gallery I watched Anita testify about how Khan barged into her room, pushing the door open. Anita testified that once he was in her room she couldn’t get him to leave. The State then presented evidence about Khan’s electronic card swipes with the testimony of Yale security officers. They testified that Khan swiped into Anita’s dorm area, then into Khan’s area, then into Keni’s area, then back into Anita’s area. Juror Jill said to me: If Anita didn’t want him in the room, why didn’t she just lock the door when he went back out to go to his room? Juror Jack said to me: How would Khan know where to look for Keni? Khan didn’t know Keni. Anita must have sent Khan to search for Keni. State’s Attorney Pepper, whom the jurors all referred to as “Mr. Magoo,” argued in closing that Khan was looking to isolate Anita from Keni. But how was Khan supposed to isolate Keni when Khan didn’t even know Keni?
The jurors were not impressed with State’s Attorney Pepper. They thought he was dull, boring and insulted their intelligence. The jurors told me that Norm Pattis was in complete contrast to Pepper. Norm was loud, theatrical, and over the top. The jurors told me that what led them to acquittal was not the attorneys, it was the lack of evidence. Juror Jack said Norm was good at keeping the jurors awake and focused on the case, with his loud, in-your-face antics. The Norm trial technique should be taught in all law schools.
Juror Jack was particularly angry at the Yale Daily News. Jack said that the Yale Daily ran a trash piece on Khan in the middle of the trial. The Yale Daily reported that other female students complained about Khan for inappropriate behavior a year before Anita made her allegations. Jack and Jill told me that they tried to comply with Judge Fischer’s order not to talk with anyone or read anything in the media about the case. Yale knows that jurors don’t always follow the rule to avoid the media. Did Yale purposely run this trash piece in order to infect the jury? I spoke with reporters from the Yale Daily during the trial about this article. I asked them whether there were any hard evidence of assault reported by other female students. Or was it just your typical awkward adolescent behavior? The Yale reporters told me that their impression that it was nothing rising to any criminal level. Yet Prosecutor Pepper tried to get this evidence of “micro-aggression” towards other students before the jury. Judge Brian Fischer wouldn’t allow it.
I practiced law for 20 years and argued many cases before Judge Brian Fischer. Judge Fischer is a highly respected jurist in New Haven. Many lawyers complain about certain judges. You will rarely, if ever, hear a complaint about Judge Fischer. Juror Jack told me that after the verdict Judge Fischer spoke with the jury in private. Jack told me that Judge Fischer gave them the impression that he agreed with the jury and also thought that Khan was innocent.
Juror Jack said that initially the jury was split with three women voting to convict and three men voting to acquit. I admit I was wrong. I thought that the women voted to acquit and the men voted to convict. You will never hear the New Haven Register or the Communist New Haven Independent admit that they were wrong.
Jack said that it didn’t take long for the women to vote to acquit. Jack said they carefully reviewed all the evidence including the videotape. Jack said that although they asked the judge to see the screen shot of the phone call between Khan and his girlfriend, they had already made up their minds to acquit. Jack said just one juror wanted to see the screen shot.
Juror Jack said that the State’s presentation of the phone emoticon exchange between Khan and Anita also buried the State. I saw some of the emoticons. They were clearly flirtatious. But Anita did a good job downplaying them. She testified that she talks with all her friends in that manner. But how often does Anita send her friends Shakespeare love sonnets, while texting “are you going to assert your authority?” Jack thought Anita’s attempted explanation was completely ridiculous.
Jack told me that Yale provided Anita’s Halloween costume for free. The cat costume consisted of two shmatas that barely fit over her torso and tuchos, with a tail attached to her backside. Yale provided free condoms in the laundry room for Khan. Shabtai provided Anita with free booze. Welcome to Yale. I can see why Rabbi Greer the Goat sued Yale to keep his kids off the Yale campus. It was much safer in the compound.
Speaking of Shabtai, Anita testified that she hurled three times over the course of the night. Anita testified that she drank at Shabtai at around 10 PM, and didn’t eat much at the Challah-Wings party. How does one hurl three times when there was nothing in her belly to hurl? Anita was at the Halloween concert at Woolsey at midnight. She testified that she sat in the balcony and hurled in the balcony. All her friends have her sitting on the ground floor, ie., the orchestra. Attorney Pepper argued to the jurors in closing, “She must have been drunk, she didn’t know where she was sitting, if she made up this story she would have said she was in the orchestra.” Give me a break.
Jack didn’t believe Anita was as drunk as Pepper made her out to be. Jack said he examined the cat costume. He said there wasn’t much vomit in the costume. He said he would have expected a lot more vomit to be stuck in the sequins. He thought that someone must have dumped the dress in water.
Jack said that the jurors could not understand why the State presented all the DNA evidence which proved nothing. And nobody could explain how male DNA got onto Anita’s anal swap. Jack said the jurors joked around that the male DNA belonged to Richard Gayler.
Both jurors couldn’t understand why Anita didn’t remember where she was sitting in Woolsey Hall. If she remembered certain parts of the night, how could she not remember where she was sitting?
Anita testified that she puked at one point in the rotunda at Woolsey. Anita testified that a female Yale security guard in the rotunda told her that she couldn’t go back into the concert. This Yale security guard never appeared to testify. It should not have been hard for Yale to figure out who was working that night.
Anita hails from Jewish family in the Ukraine, yet this fact was hidden from the jury. A number of the Yale students who testified were asked about Shabtai, the Jewish secret society run by Rabbi Shmuly Hecht. Keni said she wasn’t Jewish but she thought it would be cool to attend. Why wasn’t Anita asked why she went to Shabtai?
Anita testified that Khan was Muslim and that he only wanted to join Shabtai in order to make connections with the Jews, whom he thought had money and power. Anita told the police: “Khan was a Muslim from Afghanistan and could be dangerous.” Anita tried to explain this statement to the jury by saying that she was trying to make sense of the situation after she had been raped. Did the attorneys hide the fact that Anita was Jewish in order to avoid any political and religious issues between Anita and Khan that could have inflamed the jury? Lawyers think non-lawyers are idiots. Lawyers patronize jurors. In this case the lawyers for the State were the idiots. I hope they do a better job when they take the Goat to trial. But the Goat’s case is completely different. The Goat repeatedly raped multiple children over the course of many years. The Goat was not very good at covering up his goat hoof tracks. It shouldn’t be hard to convict the Goat.
I asked the jurors what they thought about Rabbi Shmuly Hecht. Juror Jack said that Shmuly’s testimony was a good comic relief for them. He said that the jurors had to control themselves from bursting out laughing while he testified. Juror Jill said she was frustrated with the way the lawyers kept asking and re-asking the same questions, objecting all the time, and confusing the witness with the questions. She said Shmuly looked confused by the constant banter between the judge and the lawyers. Jack said that you can’t expect Shmuly to babysit these college kids.
I asked Juror Jill what they thought about Khan’s testimony. Juror Jill said that although Khan’s alibi sounded bizarre, ie., speaking on the phone with his girlfriend after he just had sex with Anita, she said that these kids were awkward and dysfunctional. Who is to say it didn’t happen the way Khan described? Jill thought Khan was more believable than Anita.
I asked Juror Jack about Khan. Jack said that he didn’t believe much of what Khan’s girlfriend said on the witness stand. Jack thought Khan’s girlfriend was attractive, intelligent, thoughtful and kind. He didn’t think she was Khan’s real girlfriend. Jack said it didn’t matter. Jack didn’t think that the State had enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Whatever Khan or his girlfriend said was largely irrelevant. I think Jack felt sympathy Khan’s girlfriend that she put herself in the middle of this toxic case.
Both the jurors I spoke with were parents with children in college, or children who recently graduated college. The other jurors also had children in college. They told me that they thought a great injustice had been done to Khan. They were even more upset that Khan will most likely be expelled by Yale, and his future ruined. One of the jurors asked me if it was ok to contact Khan and offer help.
I told the jurors that you can try a case ten times to ten different juries and get ten different results. If Khan had been tried before a different jury he may have been convicted, and sent away to prison for many years.
Norm Pattis tried to argue to the jury that there was a vast conspiracy between Yale, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the local police. Norm’s wild conspiracy theories were shut down by Judge Fischer. The jury was to consider just the facts. I now believe that Norm’s wild conspiracy theory is not so wild after all.
Larry Noodles, the Goat catcher, will be looking into this case more carefully.