Tenn. defense lawyer tells jury women are the 'weaker sex'

A defense lawyer was criticized for “despicable” tactics during a rape trial after telling a Tennessee jury that women are good at lying “because they’re the weaker sex.”

Steve Farese made the comments Thursday during closing arguments of the Memphis trial of Mark Giannini, a businessman accused of raping a woman who came to his house for a job interview.

“There is always a reason behind a lie,” Farese tells the jury of 11 women and three men, according to video obtained by the Commercial Appeal. “People can be very good at lying. Women can be especially good at it because they’re the weaker sex.

“That’s what the book says,” he appears to add.

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Farese argued that the sex between Giannini and the woman was consensual, and attacked her credibility during his remarks.

“They can’t make chicken salad out of chicken squat,” he said. “Don’t tinkle on my leg and tell me it’s raining. I know what’s going on. One lie after another lie after another embellishment, on and on it goes.”

The executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council told the Commercial Appeal she was “stunned” by the comments, and said they were “absolutely despicable.”

Steve Farese speaks during a press conference in Decaturville, Tenn., in 2014.

Steve Farese speaks during a press conference in Decaturville, Tenn., in 2014.

(Mark Humphrey/AP)

“He stood in front of 11 women on a jury and said women are liars?” Deborah Clubb told the newspaper. “That just doesn’t even make the first bit of sense and it’s despicable. Doesn’t even sound like professional strategy for an attorney.”

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Clubb also called out Farese for discussing how the woman was dressed at the time of the alleged rape.

“What we wear, where we are, whether we are drunk, is not the reason for rape. Rape happens because men rape … And it’s wrong. It’s a crime,” she told the newspaper.

Farese could not be immediately reached for comment, but told the Commercial Appeal later Thursday that “my job is not to care if anybody gets offended. Smart people will see it for what it is.”

With News Wire Services

sex crimes

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