Jury finds Mark Giannini not guilty in rape trial

by: Lauren Coleman, Greg Coy Updated:

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - UPDATE Friday 5:50 p.m.

A jury found Memphis businessman Mark Giannini not guilty on all charges. The rape trial stemmed from an incident at Giannini's home in 2014.

As the verdict was read, the victim had an emotional breakdown in the courtroom. Giannini and his lawyer, Steve Farese, embraced one another.

Our cameras caught the emotions the woman who accused him of rape moments after the verdict was read. During the trial, she testified that Gianni raped her and left her bruised and hospitalized. 

"I don't know if he heard that. I don't know if I heard that I was back in the back than being shot at without result," Farese said.  

Prosecutors said Giannini took advantage of the woman who had a criminal past and was struggling to turn her life around. 

The woman who accused him of rap has filed a $6 million lawsuit against Giannini.

If he had been found guilty, he faced up to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole. 

District Attorney General Amy Weirich issued the following statement: 

 

     "While we respect the jury's verdict, we are deeply disappointed in the outcome. The victim in this case exhibited great strength and courage. We are saddened for her and hope that this result does not discourage other victims from speaking up." 


UPDATE Friday morning: 

Jury deliberations are underway in the rape trial of wealthy businessman Mark Giannini. 

The jury has been deliberating for hours and told the judge they are struggling to come to a unanimous decision on the aggravated rape charge. 

The judge told jurors they cannot consider lesser charges until making a decision on aggravated rape. 

Giannini's attorney made a comment during closing arguments that raised some eyebrows. 

Steve Farese said women are especially good at lying, because they're the "weaker sex." 

>>WATCH: Mark Giannini's lawyer tells jury women lie

FOX13's Greg Coy is at the courthouse awaiting a verdict and will have the latest on FOX13 at 5. 

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Closing arguments in the fourth day of the Mark Giannini trial wrapped up Thursday afternoon.

“He thought he could take advantage of a girl who was living in a hotel, a server at the Waffle House, because he was a self-made millionaire and no one was going to believe her over him,” Prosecution Attorney Jessica Banti said.


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Mark Giannini, a prominent businessman is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he first met back in 2014.

The prosecution presented evidence and the victim’s account of what happened to her when she went to visit his Eads mansion for what she thought was a job interview.

The prosecution said Giannini brutally raped the victim and she had to go to the hospital due to her injuries.

The defense however discredited the victim’s credibility by restating her criminal past.

The defense also said the case was all about winning a six million dollar civil lawsuit.

“Her explanation was seeking justice, my explanation is when she’s up here on the stand crying on cue that she was crying for dollars,” Defense Attorney Steve Farese said.

But the prosecution said that wasn’t the victim’s motivation.

“She has an incentive to have the man who brutally raped her be found guilty of the act he committed,” Attorney Neal Oldham said.

The jury will meet Friday at 9 a.m. to begin deliberation.