Friday, May 18, 2012

UPDATE: Prosecutor found not guilty of sexual assault in case where evidence suggested a set up

Former prosecutor Peter Joseph Costanza was found not guilty this afternoon of sexual assaulting a young women in 2008 when she was 17-years-old. Evidence introduced at the trial raised serious questions about why this matter was even allowed to proceed, and the jurors, consisting of ten women and two men, apparently had concerns about it.  Read on.

Costanza claimed the young woman was trying to get back at him for jailing her boyfriend on drug charges. He claimed she came to him and asked him to dismiss the charges against her boyfriend. When Costanza said he couldn't, she told him he would be in trouble and left his office.

Costanza does admit that he had consensual contact with the girl, and this certainly complicated his defense.

But the most compelling evidence introduced might have been the recorded jailhouse conversations between the young female accuser and her then 21-year-old drug-dealing boyfriend -- talking about setting up the "DA" for a sexual harassment lawsuit. On one recording, the boyfriend is heard to say: "Costanza (expletive) me."

The conversations occurred before the girl reported being sexually assaulted by Constanza in a conference room in 2008.

It is interesting that the prosecution had the tapes since Costanza's indictment four years ago, but it was the defense that actually listened to the 80 hours of conversations and informed prosecutors of the contents just two weeks before the trial.

Costanza's attorney ripped the police for its lax investigation and rush to arrest his client.  "Can you imagine what a slaughter this would have been if I didn't have those tapes?" he asked the jurors.