Community reacts after businessman Giannini found not guilty of rape

Community reacts after businessman Giannini found not guilty of rape

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Emotions ran high after millionaire businessman Mark Giannini was found not guilty on all counts in his rape trial.

This high-profile case spanned nearly three years. In some ways, the verdict left more questions than answers after an intense week of testimony.

After hearing some very disturbing testimony, a jury of nine women and three men acquitted Giannini of raping a 25-year-old woman. That verdict has shocked many in the community.

"To see this kind of outcome is a very chilling, discouraging message to all women," said Deborah Clubb with the Women's Area Council.

The 25-year-old woman who accused Giannini of rape became very emotional after the verdict.

She told the jury she was drugged and raped by Giannini in 2014 when she went to his home for an interview to clean his home.

A defense witness testified the woman knew she was going to Gianinni's Eads home for sex.

It was a case that brought controversy because of the nature of the testimony and remarks made by Giannini's Attorney Steve Farese, who claimed the woman was willing to do anything, even lie to win a multimillion dollar civil lawsuit against Giannini.

"We've all been lied to," Farese said. "There's always a reason behind the lie. People can be very good at lying. Women can be especially good at it because they are the weaker sex."

Leslie Ballin, who initially was one of Giannini's attorneys and dropped out because of a conflict, said the jury apparently had doubts about what the woman claimed.

"There was a doubt that was reasonable as to the sex that occurred was consensual or not," Ballin said.

Clubb said that is a problem because women may not come forward in the future in sexual assault cases.

"We need women to come forward and be brave enough to tell the stories," Clubb said.

Giannini faces two more sexual assault cases. Ballin said prosecutors traditionally try their strongest case first.

Farese said he will ask for a bond next week for Giannini, who remains behind bars.

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