schirinrangnick

As former Yale student Saifullah Khan’s rape trial entered its second week, the defense called its first witnesses to the stand on Monday morning at the New Haven courthouse.

Khan faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge for allegedly raping another Yale student on Halloween night in 2015. He was suspended by the University on Nov. 9, 2015 and arrested three days later. The long-awaited trial got underway early last week, and, by Monday morning, the 10-person jury had heard from all the witnesses called by the prosecution.

Later that day, the defense called Rabbi Shmully Hecht — co-founder of the Jewish society Shabtai and a friend of the defendant — and Khan’s longtime girlfriend to the witness stand. The woman accusing Khan of rape, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe, told police two years ago that on the night of the incident she drank two cups of alcohol served by Hecht at a Shabtai party also attended by Khan. Later that night, according to the Yale Police Department affidavit describing the events of that night, Hecht sat next to her and Khan at the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s Halloween concert, during which Doe vomited several times before leaving accompanied by Khan.

During his time on the stand, Hecht resisted giving straightforward answers of yes, no or “I don’t remember,” as prosecutor Michael Pepper asked him how much alcohol he consumed at the Shabtai Halloween party, where he sat at the concert, whether he called for medical help for Doe during the show, and which Yale administrators he contacted about Khan’s “Title IX problem” once he learned Khan had been suspended. Instead, Hecht often referred the prosecutor to the transcript of his police interview from November 2015, when Khan was arrested.

“I’m not trying to avoid your questions.” Hecht complained between nervous chuckles. “I don’t have a photographic memory.”

“I don’t understand the question!” he shouted at another point.

During his examination by Khan’s defense lawyer, Norm Pattis, Hecht said Khan and his accuser were “having a good time” as they sat together at the YSO show, but he declined to give a definitive answer when Pattis asked whether Khan and Doe were flirting. Hecht said Doe left the YSO show with Khan shortly after she vomited, and that she did not appear inebriated when she left.

After Hecht gave testimony, the defense called a Yale Police Department detective and Sergeant Marnie Robbins Hoffman to the stand. Pattis asked her why the YPD contacted the office of Yale’s general counsel about Khan’s potential sexual misconduct before it had completed its investigation of him. Robbins Hoffman said the YPD has “an obligation to report any potential crime to Yale” when the department become aware of it.

Pattis also asked the sergeant why she referred to the female student who Khan allegedly raped as a “victim” instead of “accused victim,” but the Judge struck the question off the record as argumentative.

Before the defense introduced Hecht, the last witness called by the prosecution, Lana Ramos, who works for the Connecticut State Forensic Lab, testified that the DNA on the two condoms found on the floor of the alleged victim’s room from the night of Doe’s matched Khan’s DNA.

On Monday, Khan’s current girlfriend, whom he has dated for more than six years, also took the witness stand. She testified that she spoke with both Khan and Doe on the phone in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2015. The girlfriend testified that she received a phone call from Khan at around 1:30 a.m. and that she spoke to both Khan and the victim. For less than a minute, she said, she and Doe exchanged pleasantries. Then, she testified, she spoke with Khan for more than an hour and a half, and talked with him again at around 7 or 8 a.m.

Khan’s girlfriend and the victim met in the summer of 2015, when they were enrolled in the same physics class at Yale, the girlfriend said. But when an investigator hired by Khan interviewed his girlfriend, she told the investigator that she had not met the victim.

Khan and his partner, both from Afghanistan, met during her senior year of high school. They are now in a “long-distance, open relationship,” the girlfriend said,  in which they have a mutual agreement that either of them may have other sexual partners.

On Tuesday, the defense will call one more witness to testify. After both sides present closing arguments, the jury will deliberate on the four charges against Khan and likely deliver a verdict by Thursday.

Jingyi Cui | jingyi.cui@yale.edu

Hailey Fuchs | hailey.fuchs@yale.edu

Britton O’Daly | britton.odaly@yale.edu

  • Attart

    It is amazing how one sided these articles have been, conveniently neglecting to mention facts that may undermine the accepted narrative on Yale’s campus. Yesterday another male’s DNA was discovered in the accuser’s anal swab, but of course the YDNews hasn’t the character or integrity to mention it. The girlfriend did not say she had not met the accuser, only that she did not meet her “through Khan,” but in a 4 week physics class they both took one summer at Yale in which there were 10 students.

    Some day you will look back on this experience with shame and regret, that you cow towed to the mob, rather than honestly and accurately reporting the facts.

    • Dios

      Bravo Attart!

  • Penny Alvarez

    Is YDN really going to gloss over the fact that the accuser lied about knowing this guy’s girlfriend????? And also had some other man’s (not Mr Khan’s) DNA in her ass the next day?????

    • habitualjoker

      Do you have a source for this?

      • Penny Alvarez

        Yeah. It’s called, I was in the court room.

        • habitualjoker

          No need to be defensive. I was just wondering if there was any reporting that was done on that fact. A news article somewhere, a public courtroom transcript. If I want to cite that fact in a different conversation, I would very much like to back it up with a widely trusted source.

  • John Dingle Barry

    What the hell does that have to do with anything in this story?

  • Dios

    What this case clearly shows is that DUE PROCESS is necessary. Most people would say they are two sides to a coin. They have seen and utilized coins their entire lives, yet they still erroneously say there are two sides to a coin. If you take out a coin you will know that there are three sides to a coin. The head, The tail and the edge. You cannot have a coin with just the head or just the tail. Until you have both sides together (making a coin) where you can create an edge (the truth) you will have something that is worthless. The “alleged victim centric approach” is flawed, because you are only addressing one side of the coin. Thinking that the risk of that approach is a few men, a few casualties of war again is flawed. The truth will come out that just because a woman accuses a man it does not mean she is right. More men will be exonerated and because so many have chosen to follow the herd, their extremeness will hinder “true Victims”. The current state of affairs, extreme, one sided approach does not solve the problem, in fact it hinders it. It hurts, more people…and in particular, more women victims. I am certain we are not naïve to the fact that there are some women who lie. For those that may not know, people facing rape charges are facing 10 to 35 years to life in certain States. If guilty they will be sentenced accordingly. One question, when a woman is found to have lied, should she in turn face 10 to 35 years to life for lying? Is this what it will take for people to wake up and come together to solve the problem together? I pray not. We still have time to correct our course.

  • Dios

    How on earth does that have anything to do with this case?? In the case you are referring to, Hillary lied!! In this case the accuser has lied numerous times. She is not credible. She should face the same amount of time behind bars for fabricating a story that got out of hand that she couldn’t keep straight in her testimony. She did not have enough alcohol based on hers and others testimonies there that night to cause the condition she claimed to be in and out of depending on what she wanted to forget or use for her case. Why hasn’t it been brought up that others at the party had food poisoning. Hmmm, you get violently sick, you vomit and hours later your ok in many cases. And it does not affect your MEMORY!! Here is one of the plethora of lies: In Khan’s case, the accuser told the hospital examiner that she had had consensual sex, yet her testimony is that she was violently raped by Mr Khan. Throughout her court testimony she claimed she did not have her phone (a key component to her case), yet various accounts from various witnesses confirm communicating with her at various points throughout that night and time she claimed not to have her phone. She neglected to convey to her own attorney other sexual encounters within the timeframe of their encounter and her going to the hospital. Her entire case is based on heresay, not actual facts. Her own friends, who showed up to testify, did not provide significant support, based upon the alleged criminal act) for her when this occurred. They got together to go to the hospital the day after to see one of the partygoers, walked back to her room and left her there and went about their day. The facts of this case does not support her accusation. She relied on friends and other men she had sexual relationships for comfort and support. At no point did she contact her family. As a parent, if my daughter were going through this, there is no way in HELL that I would not be by her side through this entire time. I do not recall her parents there not one damn day, in fact, I do not recall any family being there at any time for her. I do not recall the accuser every saying she picked up the phone to call her family who leave only a couple of hours away. Mr. Khan’s family can be accounted for.