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Jason Lee

'I fought with every ounce of my strength: Irishwoman testifies in US rape trial

Former investment banker Jason Lee has pleaded not guilty.

AN IRISH TOURIST who alleges a former New York City investment banker raped her at his East Hampton rental home two summers ago testified yesterday that she used “every ounce of strength” she had in trying to fend off her attacker.

The woman fought back tears, refusing to look at the defendant as she testified at the Long Island trial of Jason Lee, a former Goldman Sachs managing director.

Lee (38) has pleaded not guilty to raping the woman after meeting her and a group of friends at a Hamptons nightclub while celebrating his birthday in August 2013. Lee, who left Goldman Sachs last year, is free on $100,000 (€95,000) bail.

The non-jury trial has attracted international attention, with media from around the world chronicling the trial, which began last week.

Holiday home

The woman testified that she drank about “six or seven” vodkas at the nightclub, and said when the club was closing around 4 am, she and her group, which included her brother, accepted a ride from Lee and one of his friends back to the holiday home Lee and his wife had rented in East Hampton. Lee’s wife was at the couple’s Manhattan home during the night of partying, authorities said.

Once at the home, the woman said, she and a friend had gone swimming in Lee’s pool — wearing only their underwear — before joining several others in the kitchen for champagne and pizza. After about an hour, the woman said, her brother suggested they leave, and she went to a bathroom down the hall to change her clothes.

Knocked to the ground

She testified that while in the bathroom, a naked Lee forced his way in, knocking her to the ground as she fought to keep the door shut. She said he jumped on top of her and sexually assaulted her, at one point putting his hand over her mouth and telling her to be quiet. “He pulled up my dress and pulled off my underwear,” the woman testified.

She said she eventually was able to force the assault to end:

With every ounce of strength I had in me I kneed him in the groin.

Lee’s attorney, Andrew Lankler, has said the sex was consensual. Lankler repeatedly attempted to point out inconsistencies between the woman’s previous testimony before a grand jury and Tuesday’s testimony. The woman steadfastly stood by her story, telling him at one point: “I’ve had a year and half to process what happened. I was extremely stressed at the time.”

Lankler has said photographs taken after the arrest prove that it was not a sexual assault because Lee “doesn’t have a scratch on him. Not a mark.”

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said Lee left the firm sometime last year; he had worked in the equity capital markets department. His current employment status was not clear.

The woman said she had worked during the summer of 2013 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and was visiting with her brother in Montauk, New York, during her final days in the United States. She said other than her brother, “nobody at home knows what happened” during the visit to the Hamptons, a summer playground for the rich and famous about 100 miles east of New York City.

Read: NY banker had no injuries after alleged rape incident, court is told >

More: Ex-Goldman Sachs banker raped Irishwoman after his birthday party, court told >

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Associated Foreign Press