But the same video showed the woman walking under her own power to her door -- even turning to make what looked to be a conversational gesture in Mata's direction.
Her blood-alcohol level after a nightclub vodka-drinking binge hovered near four times the legal limit for driving, and she would continue vomiting all night, yet she was able to climb five flights of stairs under her own power, defense lawyers argued -- proof that, four hours later, she would have metabolized enough alcohol to have not been physically helpless had any sex transpired.
The verdict left the two cops looking stunned beyond any visible display of emotion.
But their mothers, who sat together in the second row of the courtroom, appeared thrilled, particularly Mata's mother. Mata had faced the same maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted of conspiring in the accused rape by acting as his older partner's lookout.
"I just want to get on with my life," a relieved-looking Mata told reporters after the verdict. "It's been a long two years."
Moreno had testified that he'd made the three on-duty return visits to the woman's apartment -- dragging Mata along -- because as a recovering alcoholic he'd wanted to "help" her beat the booze.
His testimony described bizarre scenarios in which he rebuffed her near-nude advances and crooned "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi as they held hands in her vomit-splattered bathroom.
"Obviously, if I could go back, I wouldn't have done it," Moreno said of these "counseling" sessions. "It's a lesson learned. From the pureness of my heart, my intentions were from the beginning just to help her."
Republished with permission of The New York Post.