Tyson accuser remains unshaken after questioning by defense Conflicting details have limited impact

February 01, 1992|By New York Times News Service

INDIANAPOLIS -- Mike Tyson's defense attorney sought repeatedly yesterday to challenge the testimony of an 18-year-old woman who has accused Mr. Tyson of rape, but after 3 1/2 hours of cross-examination the woman and her account emerged largely unshaken.

The woman, who says the former heavyweight champion raped her in his hotel room early on July 19, was calm and direct as she answered pointed questions by Vincent J. Fuller about her intentions in meeting Mr. Tyson and her decision to go to his room.

"I look back now and say I was stupid," said the woman during her second, and final, day on the witness stand. "But that doesn't leave a reason for him to do to me what he did."

Mr. Fuller sought to show inconsistencies in the various accounts the woman had given of the events that led to what she described on Thursday as a horrifying and painful attack.

But while the lawyer was able to point up conflicting statements by the woman about the details of her encounter with Mr. Tyson, the impact of these contradictions seemed limited.

The woman testified Thursday that she had joined Mr. Tyson shortly before 2 a.m. last July 19 for what she thought would be a limousine ride around Indianapolis after meeting him the previous day at the Miss Black America pageant, where she was a contestant.

Instead, they quickly ended up in his suite at the Canterbury Hotel, where, the woman said, the 5-foot-11-inch, 225-pound boxer pinned her to a bed, pulled her clothes off and raped her. The accuser is 5-4 and weighs 108 pounds. She testified that when she wept after the attack, Mr. Tyson "started laughing like it was a game of something, like it was funny."

Mr. Fuller yesterday tried to raise questions about the young woman's awareness of what was going to happen when she left her own hotel room at about 1:45 a.m. to meet Mr. Tyson, and what her motives were.

He asked the woman, for instance, why she had sat on the edge of the bed rather than on a couch or chair when Mr. Tyson beckoned her into the bedroom of his hotel suite.

"Because you can't see the TV from there," she said.

By her account, Mr. Tyson had first told her he needed to make a brief stop at his suite and, once there, had asked her into the bedroom to watch television and to talk.

" 'Come on in, I want to talk to you a second,' " she quoted Mr. Tyson as saying. Mr. Fuller asked if the invitation didn't give her pause. "I mean, I was fooled," she replied.

She said that while she and Mr. Tyson were seated on the bed, he told her, "You're turning me on."

Mr. Fuller asked her what she was feeling at that point.

" 'Oh my God! Where did that come from,' " was her reaction to Mr. Tyson's remark, she said.

Soon after, the woman testified, she told Mr. Tyson she had to use the bathroom. More than once Mr. Fuller asked her if she didn't have the opportunity at that point -- just before the alleged incident occurred -- to simply walk out of Mr. Tyson's suite.

"You did not go out the door of the parlor, right?" Mr. Fuller said.

"No," she said, and didn't give a reason for not leaving.

The woman said that when she agreed to join Mr. Tyson in his limousine, she had expected they would make the rounds of late-night parties. In anticipation of that, she said, she had brought a camera to take photos of the celebrities she hoped to meet.

"He said we'd go around Indianapolis and talk," she said of Mr. Tyson.

"I thought that meant those parties -- that we'd see people and take their pictures."

Mr. Fuller seemed bent on leaving the impression that the accuser's interest in Mr. Tyson had to do with the fighter's wealth. But the woman repeatedly denied she had commented on what a catch Mr. Tyson was or that, after meeting Mr. Tyson for the first time, on July 18, she had sung the words, "Money, money, money, money, money," to the tune of the song "For the Love of Money."

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