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Rape Case Lawyer’s Comments About Women Lying, ‘Weaker Sex’ Draw Fire

A Memphis defense attorney is drawing outrage after he told a jury during a rape trial on Thursday that women can be "especially good" at lying "because they’re the weaker sex."

Attorney Steve Farese is defending prominent area businessman Mark Giannini, who was accused of drugging and raping a woman who came to his home to interview for a housekeeper position. During closing arguments, Farese said the accuser lied about being sexually assaulted.

"People can be really good at lying. Women can be especially good at it, because they are the weaker sex," he said to a jury of 11 women and three men, according to NBC News affiliate WMC of Memphis.

The jury found Giannini not guilty Friday, the station reported. But the defense lawyer's comments drew sharp criticism.

Rape Case Lawyer Calls Women 'Weaker Sex' 0:36

Farese did not return requests for comment by NBC News.

"The words were despicable and outrageous," said Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council.

"It was so offensive to hear ancient language saying all women lie, connive and can’t be trusted," she said. "For Farese to stand there and put the blame on her and say all women are liars is beyond pale," she said.

But he told the Memphis Commercial Appeal on Thursday that his job "is not to care if anybody gets offended" and "smart people will see it for what it is."

Farese's defense of Giannini largely rested on the veracity of the accuser, saying the encounter was consensual, reports NBC affiliate WMC.

Image: Attorney Steve Farese
Attorney Steve Farese speaks during closing arguments in Memphis, Tenn. on April 21, 2017. WMC

He argued that she was willing to lie in order to avoid violating the terms of her supervised release from federal court prohibiting excessive drinking, and that she knew she was going to Giannini’s house to have sex, according to the station.

"[Prosecutors] didn't want you to see the top, because it was a halter top. It was a sexy top. It was a contraption. She knew where she was going. She knew what she was doing," Farese said during trial.

Comments that say lying is natural for all women will make it harder for other rape victims to come forward, Clubb said.

"Farese has a duty to represent his client, but that doesn't make his comments, which don't even make logical sense, less absurd," said Meaghan Ybos, a rape survivor and founder of People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws in Memphis.

Giannini still faces two pending rape trials and a case where he is accused of bribing a witness, WMC reported.