A longtime Montgomery County defense lawyer, being tried on charges that he raped a 22-year-old client while she was unconscious, said Monday that the woman invited him to her bedroom on the night in question for a "special night."
Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. described their interaction as consensual in testimony that spanned an entire day of court proceedings and is set to continue Tuesday. Speaking before a full courtroom, Cirillo expressed disbelief that he was charged with a crime for what he said was a planned evening of sex.
"She says, 'You're not going anywhere tonight, you're going upstairs with me,' " he said.
Cirillo's trial began last week on charges that he raped the woman while she was unconscious after going to her home in August 2015 to discuss her custody and criminal legal matters, and staying to drink and socialize. Prosecutors allege that the woman was too intoxicated to consent, and that she was not fully conscious by the time she and Cirillo were in her bed.
There is no DNA evidence in the case; the rape charge is based on a recorded conversation between Cirillo and the woman in which he told her that he had sex with her while she was passed out, and photographs he took of her while she was undressed and unconscious.
Cirillo, 57, described his version of events in graphic detail from the witness stand Monday, as his wife and daughter sat in the front row. As the cross-examination stretched on for hours, he raised his voice and pounded his fists on the witness stand while claiming he was "set up." He said he believed the woman's boyfriend at the time persuaded the woman to go to police.
"I can't believe that I'm sitting here over what I know occurred," he said.
Cirillo, the son of a late Superior Court judge, offered his own explanations for every detail that prosecutors presented as inconsistencies in his statements. The conversation recorded by detectives in which he told the woman they had sex, he said, was a lie.
Cirillo said they had a consensual sexual encounter but did not have intercourse because "she fell asleep on me." He testified Monday that he lied to the woman because he "did not want to disappoint her."
Cirillo said he and the woman both had too much to drink at her home that night. But, he said, she was responsive and conscious when he got into her bedroom.
"I don't know how else to describe it, but she's enjoying it," he said.
He said he had hoped she would wake up after falling asleep, so he took photos of her sleeping and stayed at the house, drinking more beer, smoking cigarettes, and waiting.
"I'm not going to do anything to her when she's sleeping – that's just not me," Cirillo testified.
He said he pleasured himself while she was sleeping and took additional photos before leaving.
Cirillo insisted under cross-examination that there was "no problem" with the photographs he took of the woman that night. They were so graphic that Judge Steven T. O'Neill told the jurors before they saw them last week that they should signal if they needed to take a break after viewing them.
Cirillo insisted that their relationship had been "playful" from the start of their lawyer-client relationship for custody and criminal cases.
"We immediately got along, we developed a likable relationship, is how I'd term it," he said.
She also invited him via text message to come see her when she was working at strip clubs to talk to her about her legal matters, according to texts Cirillo read aloud to jurors Monday. He said he never went because he was always too tired after a long day of work.
Cirillo previously pleaded guilty to rape in the case, but withdrew the plea when he was scheduled to be sentenced in December.