Opening arguments held in brutal Saratoga Springs rape case

February 01, 2017 06:30 PM

Prosecutors say a woman moved to Saratoga Springs to follow her dream, but an encounter with an alleged predator turned it into a nightmare.

Wilfredo Diaz is accused of raping the woman. Opening arguments got underway in the trial.

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Prosecutors say Diaz is a dangerous man who preys on women. His attorney says the crimes he's accused of are not crimes at all.

With a wave to the camera, Wilfredo Diaz doesn't appear to have a care in the world. A sharp contrast to the heinous crimes for which he's being tried.

The 46-year-old Diaz, who friends call Freddy, is accused of attacking an acquaintance one early August morning on the side of a street in Saratoga Springs. Prosecutors told the jury that the woman will testify about how Diaz pulled her clothes off, raped and choked her.

It happened at 4 a.m. on Nelson Avenue, not far from the Saratoga Casino. They say the 28-year-old tried several times to fight him off and get away

"He placed his hands around her throat and neck, pushing back her neck so far that she thought her neck was going to snap," Asst. District Attorney Michele Schettino told the jury.

Someone happened to drive by and witnessed what they thought was an attack and called police. An officer showed up right away.

"He will tell us that he heard, [the victim] scream and then he will tell us that he saw this man stand up," noted Schettino, as she pointed to Diaz.

Diaz's court-appointed attorney, Andrew Blumenberg, told the jury that the evidence will show that his client did not rape the woman.

"Ladies and gentlemen, that is not what happened here. This was late-night consensual sexual relations between the two of them," countered Blumenberg.

Diaz is charged with eight counts in all. The most serious is predatory sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

"By the end of this trial, it's going to be clear that Freddy is not guilty of any of these charges," assured Blumenberg.

The jury has been told the trial could take up to three weeks. If convicted, Diaz could go to prison for life.


WNYT Staff

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