The plot thickens in the case of State of Connecticut v. Saifullah Khan. Two friends of the victim testified on Friday about what happened on Halloween night of 2015. Asia Faranda testified for several hours. Asia is not Asian. Asia is short, with short brown hair, olive skin and glasses. Asia graduated from Yale in 2016. She is 23 years old. Asia was wearing a light sweater and dark pants.
Asia was friends with the victim and had the same major as the victim: ecology and evolutionary biology. Asia testified that she currently works as a barista at Times Square. She didn’t mention which coffee shop where she is employed, but my guess is Starbucks. Asia’s goal is to become an animal doctor, a veterinarian. Asia mentioned that she was also involved with Latin and ballroom dance classes with the victim. On cross examination attorney Norm Pattis tried to suggest that the victim injured her thigh and leg in a dance class.
Asia was very personable and warm. She was down to earth. She didn’t try to Yalespain the jury or give the lawyers and judge advice on how to enter the evidence. She didn’t have a prestigious job on Wall Street or at a big hedge fund or law firm. None of the Yale graduates who testified thus far work are masters of the universe, not even close. You would think a Yale degree is the ticket to fame and fortune.
Asia testified that on Halloween night of 2015 she was scheduled to work as an usher at Woolsey Hall for the Halloween concert. After the concert she was scheduled to meet with the victim and her other friends at the bar Elevate, which was hosting a Yale sponsored event. At 9 PM Asia had a shot of a fireball with her friends. She went to work at 10 PM.
Asia was asked many questions about an organization known as Shabtai. Shabtai is where the victim met up with Khan. The victim admittedly got very intoxicated at Shabtai. The prosecutors have focused a lot of time on what happened at Shabtai. The prosecutors have also focused on Rabbi Shmuly Hecht, who runs Shabtai.
Shabtai Inc was incorporated in Connecticut on August 21, 1997. Rabbi Shmuly Hecht is the Vice President of Shabtai. Oliver Benjamin Karp is the president. Attorney Stephen J. Rochester is the Director. Ben Karp and Stephen Rochester are both Yale graduates and are both Jews. Rabbi Shmuly Hecht did not graduate from Yale. Rochester is an attorney who specializes in corporate law at an international law firm located on Park Avenue in New York City, known as Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, which was founded in 1830. I doubt any Jews worked at this law firm back in 1830. Rochester may be the token Yid. Rochester has never been indicted nor has he done any time in Federal prison. Ben Karp is the CEO of a school that teaches Japanese people how to speak English. Hecht and Karp have much in common. In German the word “Hecht” means a pike fish.
Asia testified on direct examination that the victim showed up at Woosley Hall with Mr. Khan. Asia was checking tickets. Asia couldn’t remember Khan’s face from that night, but she remembers he was a young man who looked like Khan. She testified that the victim was extremely drunk. Asia said the victim was “giggling, flailing, slurring her speech, and couldn’t stand up, and had to be supported by the young man behind her.” Asia asked the victim for her ticket. The victim tried to get her electronic ticket off of her cell phone but was unsuccessful. Khan tried to hold up the victim with one arm and get the ticket off her cell phone with the other arm.
Asia testified that while Khan and Asia were struggling with the phone a man in his upper 30s / early 40s came out of the theater and into the rotunda. Asia testified that this man tried to “intervene.” Asia said that she did not know who this man was, but she later learned that it was Rabbi Shmuly Hecht. Shmuly demanded to know why Khan and the victim couldn’t get into the show. Asia said she told the victim not to worry about the ticket and let her in. Asia closed the theater doors and waited for the show to start. Within five or ten minutes Shmuly opened the door and told Asia: “there is a girl throwing up, can you get her a cup of water.” Asia said she didn’t realize that it was her friend the victim who was throwing up. Asia told Shmuly that she didn’t have any cups, but that Shmuly could take her to the water fountain.
State’s Attorney Michael Pepper is very focused on Shmuly Hecht. Pepper asked Asia, “Did you know that Mr. Hecht was a rabbi at the time?” “Did Mr. Hecht ask for medical assistance?” Asia responded that “Shmuly told me he was a rabbi and I said I still can’t get a cup of water.” Pepper asked Asia whether the policy at Yale was to remove students from the concert if they were hurling in the seats. Asia said yes. Pepper asked Asia whether “Mr. Hecht” removed the victim from the concert. Asia said no, “he went back into the audience.” Pepper rarely referred to Shmuly Hecht as a rabbi. Pepper mostly referred to him as “Mr. Hecht.” Norm Pattis also referred to Shmuly as “Mr. Hecht.”
My best guess is that Michael Pepper is concerned that Norm Pattis will put Shmuly Hecht on the witness stand to defend Khan. Shmuly will not have much credibility on the witness stand after these Yalies just testified that he was drunk at the Shabtai party and didn’t do anything to prevent the victim from getting raped by Khan. But in Shmuly’s defense, I’m sure it never crossed his mind that Khan would rape the victim that night. Shmuly saw drunk Yalies all the time at Shabtai. Was Shmuly supposed to call the medics every time someone got drunk at Shabtai? Norm tried to make this point by asking the witnesses whether they were grown adults, over 21 years old, when they were getting hammered at Shabtai.
The jury will ultimately decide whether Khan raped this girl or whether she consented, regardless of her state of intoxication. There has been no evidence that Khan was drunk that night. The evidence so far does not look good for Khan. The State has painted a picture of a very intoxicated girl who was escorted back to her room by Khan. The next morning the victim called Khan a “piece of shit” in a text message after he told her he used protection. The victim went right to the hospital and the police the next morning. The victim had her friends come over that morning to help her. The victim testified that Khan told her that she consented because she threw up all her alcohol and was sober enough to consent. The victim says that she tried to fight off Khan during the night. The victim has bruises on her legs. The victim is very convincing on the witness stand. Attorney Norm Pattis hasn’t suggested in his questioning of the victim that the victim had consensual sex. So far Norm has argued that the victim was too drunk to remember anything from that night.
Asia continued to bury Khan with her testimony. Asia said that she received a call from the victim at 6 AM, in which the victim was “confused and disturbed.” Asia went to the victim’s dorm room. The victim just got out of the shower and was partially covered by a towel. Asia said she saw a bruise on the victim’s leg. Asia encouraged the victim to go to Yale Health and take Plan B, which is the morning after pill. The victim’s friend Tabitha also arrived at the dorm room at the same time. Tabitha took the victim to Yale Health.
Norm opened his cross examination of Asia with one of his jokes that always results in a silent courtroom and blank stares. Norm said to Asia with a chuckle: “Both you and the complainant were members of the Latin dance team and the ballroom dance team, was she light on her feet?” Asia glared back at Norm. Norm chuckled again. The jury stared into space. The Judge yawned. The marshal leaned over and asked me questions about the Goat case.
On cross examination Norm asked Asia a number of questions about a girl named Hamassa Abati. Hamassa was a student who was in a physics class with the victim and Asia. The victim ended up dropping her physics class mid way through the semester. Norm has asked other witnesses about this mystery girl named Hamassa. My preliminary research into Hamassa has uncovered nothing.
The next witness to testify was Keni Savath. Keni is a local New Haven resident. Keni works as a Woodbridge Fellow at Yale. A Woodbridge fellow sounds fancy but it largely an administrative job working in the Yale President’s Office. The President of Yale is Peter Salovey, a Jew, who is descended from Rav Soloveichik. Peter is not as observant as his ancestor, although he has a brother who is 100% frum, who comes to visit the campus on occasion.
Keni was wearing a black jacket, a white shirt, a gold chain and glasses. Keni is petite with long black hair, olive skin and Asian eyes. Asia graduated Yale in 2016, and majored in American studies and political science. Keni was relaxed on the witness stand. She joked around. She bantered with the lawyers.
Keni lived in a dorm at Trumbull college. Keni knew Khan. Keni said that a month before the Halloween party at Shabtai, Khan had invited her to a Shabtai dinner at Shabtai’s old location on Chapel Street for a Shabbat dinner. The Shabtai mansion on Orange Street was still under renovation at the time. Norm objected to the questions about the Shabbat dinner on Chapel Street. The judge told State’s Attorney Pepper to move on.
Before Pepper moved on, he asked Keni if she recognized Khan in the courtroom and for her to point to him. Pepper turned his head to Khan. Everyone in the room looked at Khan. Keni looked at him and pointed her finger. How humiliating. I object to Pepper doing this with every witness. I know how it feels to be sitting in a courtroom as a criminal defendant. It is humiliating enough without the government having everyone point at you as if you are Charles Manson. Speaking of Charles Manson, I met a guy who looked just like Manson on Purim.
Keni said she was invited to the Challah-Wings party at Shabtai on Halloween night of 2015 by Khan. She said that Khan said he was a member of this society. Keni testified, “I assumed it was a secret society like many of the secret societies at Yale, and that they had open events at times, I’m not Jewish but I thought it would be cool.” Keni laughed and said she was anxious to get some “free food” which included challah and chicken wings. Keni testified that she was dressed in a one piece panda costume. Keni met up with Tabitha and the victim at the dorm and walked over to Shabtai.
At Shabtai Keni testified that there was an open bar and she had a rum and coke, which she didn’t drink much of, two glasses of red wine, and one half a cup of the brownish liquid that was being poured by someone at the party when she went into the larger room. She said she may have had another rum and coke after that. Keni said that she sat with her friends in a side room with a fireplace, where not many people were gathered. Keni said “Rabbi Shmuly came into the room and asked us what were were doing here and told us to socialize” and go into the larger room. Keni testified that she saw Shmuly again “when we were leaving, he told us to stay, he was drunk.”
Keni testified that she had a puff of a cigar, when someone was passing around a box of cigars and pouring the brownish liquid. Keni said that when she started to feel tipsy she decided that there was only one solution, and that was to drink more, as she “wanted to continue that feeling. I was losing my better judgment, I wanted to feel happy.” Keni didn’t seem to regret getting drunk that night. She survived, looked back at it as a bad night, but she wasn’t going to lose sleep over it. She was honest, and expressive, waving her hands and smiling a lot.
Eventually Keni staggered over to the Halloween concert with the victim and her other friends. She said she recognized her friend Kevin Garcia in the rotunda at Woosley. She said Kevin was an EMT. Kevin told her that she was drunk and needed to be transported to Yale Health. Kevin called an ambulance. Keni threw up in the ambulance. Her vomit was red. The EMTs were concerned that she was vomiting blood. She said, relax, I was drinking red wine. She was transported to Yale Health, where she dried out over the night.
Once again Norm began his cross examination of Keni with a corny joke. Norm said to Keni, smirking, “Do you consider yourself a free spirit?” Attorney Pepper objected. Judge Fischer sustained the objection. Move on Norm. And enough smirking.
Norm then revealed his ignorance of anything remotely Jewish. What do you expect from a goyisha-kop? Norm asked Keni, “Is it called a Hollow bread because it is hollow?” Keni explained to Norm that the Challah bread is very airy and fluffy, and the only thing that was hollow was Norm’s head. Actually, I added that last part about Norm’s head, I couldn’t resist, sorry Norm.
Keni told Norm that Shabtai was having a “Jewish spice ritual” that Saturday night, and “the rabbi was singing, and I was the only one who was jumping around and dancing, I didn’t understand what was going on, or what was happening, it was some kind of spice or herb ceremony.” Norm then asked Keni to explain what was going on in this “spice dance room.” I wanted to explain to the courtroom full of goyim that the ceremony was called Havdalah, but by this point I was so disgusted that I was ready to vomit, so I left the courtroom.
The next witness on tap was Josh Charles Clapper. Josh is a Naval officer and works at the Groton submarine base here in Connecticut. Josh is tall and thin, with short light brown hair. Josh dressed very preppy, with khakis, a grey sweater, and a button down shirt. Josh is 23 years old but he looks about 15.
Once again State’s attorney Pepper asked Josh to point to Khan. This time Norm yelled out, “we stipulate that he recognizes Khan.” No need to go through the police lineup and finger pointing in court.
Josh didn’t have much to say about the Challah-wing party at Shabtai. The lawyers were bickering over whether he should even be allowed to testify. Norm argued that the trial was originally scheduled for last October, of 2017, but was pushed off because the State didn’t provide the defense with some Yale police reports. At that time the State never listed Josh as a witness. Norm said that he sent an investigator to speak with Josh. Norm decided not to call Josh as a witness because Josh had nothing helpful to say for the defense. Norm argued that the State cannot change it’s mind and call Josh as a witness now, it was unfair. Attorney Pepper argued that this happens all the time during trials. Judge Fischer agreed, and allowed Josh to take the hot seat.
Josh testified that Khan invited him to the Shabtai party. He said that Khan hosted the party. Josh testified that he saw the victim leave the party with her friends. He stated that the victim couldn’t walk and was being held up by her friend Richard Gayler. Josh didn’t look up much when he testified. He seemed to be focused on his shoes when he spoke. He was stone faced. He answered the questions directly and didn’t offer anything more.
The next witness to testify was Detective Jennifer Herten, of the Yale Police Department. She arrived at the victim’s dorm room and located and gathered the evidence. She took the victim’s Halloween costume and a couple of condoms that were allegedly left by Khan in the room. She testified that the costume was located in a pile on top of the sofa. She didn’t have much more to say other than discuss police procedure and the chain of evidence.
Norm’s cross examination of Detective Heten didn’t begin with any corny jokes. Norm went right for the jugular. Norm has attacked the Yale Police Department throughout the case. He filed motions arguing that the Yale Police Department messed up the entire investigation. On cross, Norm went into mansplain mode and rebuked Jennifer for no reason. In his first question to Detective Herten, Norm bellowed: “Do you know what cross contamination of the evidence is???” Without waiting for a response Norm walked around the courtroom and slammed his hand on a desk and said, “If I put my hand on this desk my DNA gets on top of the desk!” Norm then rhetorically asked Jennifer “Did you see any vomit in the room, where you would expect vomit to be cleaned up?” Norm didn’t want to hear any answers from Detective Herten. Norm just wanted to hear the sound of his own voice bellowing in the courtroom.
This case will wrap up early next week. The State should finish presenting witnesses on Monday and rest it’s case. Norm may or may not call Khan to the witness stand. After that the jury will be charged and the lawyers will make final argument.
On Friday there was a reporter from the New York Times, the New Haven Register, and the Yale Daily News in the courtroom. There is a small group of Khan supporters from a non profit group that lobbies for changes in sex offender registry list laws, and other reforms of the criminal justice laws. They are mostly from out of State. There are a few people who have been sitting on the State’s side of the aisle. I don’t know who they are, probably investigators who worked on the case.
Rabbi Daniel Greer, the Goat, has his two criminal cases scheduled for early next week. I may have to hire an associate to cover the Goat case while I am covering the Khan case. If anyone is interested in the job, please send me an email and salary requirements.