Judge: Not enough proof Giannini knew he slept with underage girl

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A judge set the bond for Mark Giannini at $40,000.

Giannini, a prominent Memphis businessman, is accused of statutory rape of a 17-year-old he met on a 'sugar daddy' website.

Giannini's attorney Steve Farese said the teen his client is accused of raping listed her age as 20 on the website. The surprise came as the victim testified for the defense Thursday.

Farese said the teen also listed her age as 24 on her Facebook page and posted that she had been married and went to college.

Farese said the girl testified that she never told Giannini her real age--17.

Prosecutors did not want to cross-examine her as a witness.

Giannini was in court for a possible violation of his probation, but a judge ruled that he did not violate the terms.

Even after a full day of testimony on Thursday, Judge Mark Ward said there was simply not enough proof Mark Giannini knew the girl he had sex with was underage.

Giannini posted bond Friday afternoon; he will be required to wear an ankle monitor.

Prosecutors said Giannini had the resources available to know the truth, between his information technology firm or even asking to see the girl's license.

"You're talking about doing a background check on a minor," Judge Ward said.

The judge responded to state's argument questioning if Giannini even showed recklessness since it's not common practice to verify someone's age using their ID when dating.

"Certainly, we don't do that when engaging in relationships," Farese said. "He saw through it, and had this been anybody else they would have never been charged or caged."

Giannini was acquitted in a separate rape case last year and has two other rape cases pending from 2013.

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