Florida Rape Suspect Asks For Public Defender After Cross-Examining Alleged Victim


In his black robe, with his arms crossed in front of him, the judge closely monitored Harris' line of questioning, and Tharpe's face became increasingly red throughout the cross-examination. Finally Tharpe had his own outburst as Harris cross-examined the witness at a painstakingly slow pace, taking two to three minutes between questions.

"I will not allow you to stand at the podium and read the deposition, page by page, until you can figure out what your next question is," Tharpe said.

At another point, the judge said, "What is happening, Mr. Harris, is that you are creating an undue hardship on this victim by asking her the same questions over and over. It's almost to the point of badgering this witness."

Tharpe said it was clear that Harris had no idea about the appropriate etiquette and behavior of a lawyer.

"You clearly don't know the difference between sustained and overruled," Tharpe said.

Waving and pointing his finger, Tharpe told Harris that he could be held in contempt of the court.

Harris defended himself and his line of questioning to the judge.

"For the record, I'm making a good-faith effort to defend myself the best that I can," Harris said. "Maybe I should have prepared better for the questions. I understand that now, but I'm making a good-faith effort, judge."

Judge Deciding About Possible Mistrial

Now that Harris has decided that he can't represent himself, Pirro said that he gets another opportunity to cross-examine his accuser.

'Now he gets to question her again through his attorney," Pirro said. "We know that predators like to relive their sex crimes. It gives them an opportunity to relive that moment with the victim again."

Tharpe is still deciding whether to declare a mistrial. Prosecutors allege that taped conversations from Harris' jail cell reveal him instructing his girlfriend to tamper with witnesses, including his mother.

Harris has a prior criminal record that includes convictions for grand theft, the Tampa Tribune reported. He also faces charges that two days after the alleged rape, he falsely impersonated an officer and beat a man while outside of a bar.

At his opening statement earlier in the week, Harris said that he's "not a monster."

ABC Affiliate WFTS contributed to this report.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...