The first trial begins in the Central Park jogger rape case: Part 6

A juror said prosecutors "played on the emotions big time" as victim Trisha Meili testified in the trial against teens Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam.
7:38 | 05/25/19

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Transcript for The first trial begins in the Central Park jogger rape case: Part 6
everything. It was a cauldron of emotion around this trial. And it was gonna be very hard to give them a fair shot. They were tried and convicted in the kangaroo court of public opinion, probably before the first weekend after the incident. The defendants are about to have their two months in court. That's how long it's expected to take. Raymond santana, Yusef salaam, antron Mccray -- they are finally through with the pretrial publicity and legal wrangling. The New York City district attorney's office is a crackerjack outfit. And they put their best people on this case. This was like the New York Yankees playing against your high school baseball team. You had Elizabeth Lederer and, of course, Robert morgenthau. On the other side, the defense attorneys in this case were outclassed, outstrategized and outlived in terms of their ability to survive a case like this. 14 months after the crime was committed, the first of 2 trials in the central park jogger case. Outside of the courtroom, the atmosphere was pretty intense. There were always protesters. You lying devil! Bunch of racist dogs and devils down here. Al Sharpton had rallied a lot of people on behalf of the five. No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace! And there was always a line of people trying to get into the courtroom. There were people that wanted us dead. I mean, it became so dangerous that my mother camouflaged me, you know, just so that it could be all right for me to walk around. Ms. Lederer, how do you think it's going? I know that Elizabeth received death threats, so it was pretty serious. Those young men admitted to some part, what we call "Acting in concert" in the law, of either striking Trisha to bring her down to enable the sexual assault, holding an arm or a leg. The first trial involved three defendants -- Raymond santana, antron Mccray and Yusuf salaam. Clearly, the statements were the most important evidence. What happened to her when she was on the ground? Lopez came, and he was holding her by her arms. He pinned her arms with his knees, and then he covered her mouth with his hand. And then he sees her start screaming, so he started smacking her. The looks on the jurors' faces when they watched those videotapes told a devastating story for the defense. You could see it. The jurors were engaged. They were riveted. They nodded their heads in some cases. They were disgusted. It's clear, as it has been for a year, that prosecutors will depend on videotaped statements by the suspects themselves. But when the defense went on offense this afternoon, its strategy also became clear. The teens' lawyers say confessions were cleverly staged. The initial statement that the jury has to decide is whether these statements are voluntary or involuntary. And I think that's a decision that the jury will not take a tremendously long period of time to make that initial decision. Did somebody take her clothes off? Yes. I have watched some of the videotapes that were released. What was he doing with his hands? He was covering her mouth. Every time she was talking, he was smacking her saying, "Shut up." He kept smacking her. It is very, very hard watching someone describe how people beat me, how people were trying to stop my screaming by beating my face. The key victim people are waiting to see if they hear from is the central park investment banking jogger herself. With the trial, Elizabeth Lederer gave me the choice if I wanted to testify. And I did. She came in a tinted van which sped by reporters. The central park jogger speaks in public for the very first time. She was unsteady walking to the witness stand, but deliberate. Scars were visible around her left eye. When I walked to the witness stand the first time, I remember I was very nervous. It was one of the most anticipated, riveting courtroom moments that I have ever experienced. Will she say she remembered something? The courtroom was as silent as a library. Trisha meili did not have any memory of the attack. But she was called to the stand. She talked about what her normal running practices had been, what she had been wearing. She identified her clothing. I thought, "I know I have no memory, but I wanted people to know the condition that I had been left in." She was put on the stand even when she couldn't remember anything. And that is helping to remind the jurors. This is what happened to her. She was sure of herself and intelligent and courageous to be sitting there facing the boys accused of doing this horrible crime. And somehow she made it through. The whole thing was very emotional and moving. They played on the emotions big time. They wanted you to see her with the slurred speech, the wound to her head. It was powerful. It was. I told myself and my fellow jurors, "That is not what this case is about. It's about finding the right people." And we must not let our feelings of outrage about what happened to her cause us to -- to leap to any kind of premature conclusions. There was a huge problem in this case. The semen did not match any of the defendants. They didn't have DNA evidence against these defendants. They didn't have physical evidence against these defendants. The fact that they didn't find any DNA matches among the boys should've been of great concern. If you don't find their semen, it's really hard to make the argument that they committed the rape. So we as prosecutors were completely upfront with the jury about the fact that semen had been recovered from Trisha meili, the female jogger, which did not match any of the people that were on trial. And certainly, Elizabeth Lederer talked about it in the summation. They didn't care about the DNA. They didn't care about who did this to this woman. They wanted to get this case off the books. And these were the scapegoats, lambs led to the slaughter. The trial of the three young men accused of attacking the central park jogger is coming close to the moment of truth -- the verdict. When the verdict came in, there was screaming and mayhem in the courtroom.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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