, about the Upper West Side Rapist Hueges Akassy. Today’s
of his trial. His testimony is a classic.
I’m a Romeo, not a rapist
By LAURA ITALIANO
October 28, 2011
Hueges-Denver Akassy in court
He slept on rooftops and showered by sneaking into health clubs, but ascot-wearing vagrant Hugues Akassy—charged in a five-woman rampage of harassment and sex attacks—insists he’s just a misunderstood ladies’ man.
“You say sex—I say ‘making love,’ ” the Ivory Coast native corrected his defense lawyer yesterday, while testifying in his own defense.
“The entire thing was lovely and fun,” he remembered, in his French accent, of picnicking in Central Park two years ago with one accuser—a Metropolitan Museum of Art historian.
“I am with the baguette and the wine and the cheese,” he told a Manhattan Supreme Court jury.
“We went to that part of the park that was on ‘Sex and the City’—by the water and full of rock … where people get the wedding. There were other lovers there,” he added, with a wistful smile and a slight toss of his head.
That’s not how the historian, Paola D’Agostino, remembers it.
Akassy’s kisses on that rock were “aggressive,” his groping was unwanted, and when she barred him from coming up to her apartment he “freaked out,” screaming, cursing, and banging on her apartment building door, she had testified earlier this week.
Then he showed up repeatedly at the museum, leaning against columns and staring at her angrily, she had testified fearfully.
But in a full afternoon on the witness stand yesterday, Akassy claimed that it was he who was treated rudely—and by a succession of “shallow,” irrational women.
This, despite his cover story including claims of two master’s degrees, his urbane professed love of art, wine and music, and a fabulous life as a jet-setting, international broadcast journalist complete with stints covering the war in Rwanda and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential primary campaign—all fabricated, according to sources.
“I have traveled in 59 countries,” he told jurors.
“I used to have a band in Paris,” he added. “A jazz band.”
D’Agostino, a native of Italy who worked on the museum’s permanent Italian collection, had met Akassy on an Upper West Side street in 2009, and both she and Akassy testified that they immediately hit it off.
“She appeared to have a lot of knowledge when it came to art,” he told jurors.
But their accounts diverged widely regarding the Central Park date from hell.
“We wound up kissing, and we wound up with a passionate kiss!” Akassy told jurors, sounding delighted.
“Did she push you away?” asked defense lawyer Glenn Hardy.
“Absolutely not!” Akassy exclaimed. “We were kissing and kissing and kissing.”
Ultimately, they parted ways, he told jurors—not because he was ungentlemanly, but because she wasn’t an animal lover and didn’t understand when he wandered off from her in the park to investigate a duck he claimed was being attacked by a pair of raccoons.
“I got up and I say, ‘Look, Central Park look like a safari sometimes,’ ” he told jurors. “Because I am from Africa and I know safari.”
“I make a love connection when I am with the little animals,” he also explained.
But D’Agostino “didn’t mention anything about that poor duck,” he scoffed. “I was turned off.”
By their second date, he claimed, “there was nothing to kiss about.”
“You felt that she was interested in you?” the defense lawyer later asked about a travel agent Akassy is accused of forcing to give him oral sex in her Upper East Side stairwell.
“Absolutely!” Akassy exclaimed.
“All we do is just the oral things,” he griped. “I asked her, ‘Why don’t we just make love?’
“Of course, it was frustrating.”
Akassy, who is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and faces a maximum of 25 years prison on the top charge of rape, is due to finish his testimony on Monday.
He has yet to tell jurors about the alleged rape, in which he is charged with attacking a Russian tourist during another picnic gone awry, this one in Riverside Park last year.