Jason Lee Pleads Not Guilty To East Hampton Rape Charge; Lawyer Says Sex Was Consensual


Jason Lee, the 37-year-old Goldman Sachs executive charged with raping a 20-year-old female in August at his rental home in East Hampton, pleaded not guilty to the attack in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead before Justice Barbara Kahn on Friday morning, where he was arraigned on one count of rape in the first degree, a felony, as well as sexual misconduct and assault in the third degree, both misdemeanors.

He was released after posting $100,000 cash bail.

After Mr. Lee’s appearance, his attorney, Edward Burke Jr. of Sag Harbor, maintained that his client was innocent, characterizing the incident as consensual sex.

“There has been a rush to arrest my client, a rush for grand jury, and a rush to indict my client, Jason Lee,” he said. “But what we don’t have here is a rush to judgment. In this case, my client is adamant that he did not do this—adamant that he did not perform these serious allegations upon this complainant at all.”

Mr. Lee is accused of forcing himself on the victim between 4 and 6:30 a.m. on the morning of August 20 at a house he was renting on Clover Leaf Lane.

He and his friends had been at the Georgica restaurant and lounge in Wainscott before driving to the Clover Leaf Way home, where they continued partying at his pool, according to East Hampton Town Police.

At the club, Mr. Lee bought drinks for the victim and her friends, including her brother, prosecutors said, before inviting them back to the rental home.

The victim, an Irish national who returned to her homeland but is expected to return to the United States for the trial, told police Mr. Lee was naked when he attempted to follow her into a bathroom. As she tried to close the door, Mr. Lee shoved it open with enough force to cause her to fall to the floor, where he immediately pinned her, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota said after the arraignment.

Unsuccessful in repeated attempts to push Mr. Lee off her, the victim said that the rape ended when, during her continued struggle, she kneed him in the groin, according to the district attorney.

Mr. Spota said the victim told police she was able to escape from the bathroom and alerted her friends to what had happened.

Officers had originally responded to the home for a report of a stolen vehicle—which was found the next day; no charges were pressed—and subsequently arrested Mr. Lee on a rape charge. Mr. Spota said Mr. Lee had been hiding in his car for 45 minutes to an hour before police found him.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where a nurse trained in recognizing sexual assault examined her, according to Mr. Spota. Although he would not discuss her injuries, he said she did have bruises on her body.

Mr. Lee appeared in East Hampton Town Justice Court the day after his arrest, when he posted $20,000 bail and was released. Mr. Spota had asked that bail be set at $25,000.

Mr. Lee is due back in court on October 25 to conference with the court, according to Mr. Burke. He added that they are still waiting for the results of forensic tests, the results of the examination at the hospital and for more statements to be taken.

While Mr. Burke would not discuss what happened the night of the alleged rape, he did say that the sex between Mr. Lee and the victim was consensual.

“The forcible nature of this case, what appears to be a very violent exchange, I will tell you all, there is not a bump, there is not a bruise, there is not a scratch on my client at all,” he said. “This case will show and demonstrate that Jason Lee did not do these acts that he is accused of.”

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