Jailhouse phone calls postpone Mark Giannini rape trial

Witnesses testify about Giannini's character

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A wealthy Shelby County businessman, now indicted in three rape cases, went to court Tuesday and will have to return Friday.

The judge in charge of the case says he wants to listen to some jailhouse phone calls in private before they air in court. At the bond hearing, prosecutors painted Mark Giannini as a flight risk.

The information technology mogul is facing four counts of aggravated rape and two counts of rape.

Giannini's attorney says the allegations are not true. He was extradited to Memphis in January after he was arrested in Florida.

In court on Tuesday, a woman who said she worked for Giannini at his home in Eads, TN, said he would give her loans that she would sometimes pay back with sex.

"It originally started at that I would pay him back $100 each time we had intercourse," she said, claiming that he was good to her and her child over the several years she worked for him.

But she also testified about her former employer's darker side. A side that she says she learned about when he warned her about his girlfriend finding out about their relationship.

"And he told me that if I told his girlfriend at the time that he had taken me out, and he said that he could kill me and bury me in Shelby Forest and no one would ever find me," she explained.

The prosecutor's witnesses testified about Giannini's vast wealth and his passport status.

Giannini's defense attorney, Steve Farese, filed a motion asking that his client be allowed to be out on bond. He presented witnesses who testified that Giannini would not be a flight risk.

"Right now, it's for the judge to review and decide if a bond is appropriate and if he finds that appropriate, we're asking, you know, that the right bond will be set," said Prosecutor Jennifer Nichols.

The case will continue Friday. WMC Action News 5 will be in the courtroom to bring you all the details.

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