Jury selection underway in case of prominent businessman accused of rape

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Jury selection began Monday in the case of a prominent Mid-South businessman accused of raping a woman he lured to his home.

The controversy surrounding the businessman started back in 2014.

It's been more than two years since successful Eads businessman Mark Giannini was indicted on three rape charges.

He has hired a 'dream team' of prominent Mid-South lawyers to represent him in court. The team is made up of Steve Farese and William Massey.

"Mr. Giannini is welcoming his day in court today," Farese said.

Giannini is accused of luring a woman to his Eads estate with the promise of a cleaning job. Investigators said he sexually assaulted and drugged her.

In June 2014, investigators raided his estate and seized three pages worth of evidence, including a piece of wood with rope on it, handcuffs, a pink leash, and eight containers with assorted lingerie and various shoes.

Giannini's defense team said their client is not guilty and he simply enjoys to have lots of women around him and lives an "alternative lifestyle."

He spent seven months of being in jail before posting a $3 million bond in July 2015. But, he wasn't free long. He was arrested six months later after he was accused of trying to bribe a victim. His bond was revoked.

His attorney said Giannini feels as if he has been unfairly judged in the public eye.

"He's anxious to get his side of the story out," Farese said. "He feels like he's been convicted in public opinion."

As jury selection continues, there is speculation the trial could last several weeks. However, Giannini's attorney says the trial is expected to end this week.

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