Jason Lee, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs charged with raping a 20-year-old Irish student last summer, apparently has just weeks to make the most important decision of his life.
"We are prepared to go to trial," Kim Shalvey, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, said outside the courtroom Friday, after the case was adjourned. She indicated that the process of discovery, in which the two sides exchange information, is largely done. When asked if a deal is possible to allow Mr. Lee to plead guilty to lesser charge than the Class B felony he is currently facing, Ms. Shalvey indicated that any such conversation would have to be initiated by Mr. Lee's attorneys, Edward Burke Jr. and Andrew Lankler. Apparently that has not happened. When Mr. Lankler was asked whether a deal was being considered on July 18, after Mr. Lee's last court appearance, he answered, "No comment, with an emphasis on no."
Mr. Lee, who has not spoken to the press since his arrest, has maintained his innocence from the beginning through his attorneys.
In addition to the rape charge, which carries a minimum of five years in state prison, Mr. Lee is facing two misdemeanor charges, assault and sexual misconduct.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Lee was celebrating his 37th birthday with a friend, Rene Duncan, in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, 2013, at Georgica Restaurant in Wainscott, when the two met several Irish students, who were celebrating the end of their summer vacations on the South Fork. In that group was the alleged victim, identified only as D. She had come to East Hampton to meet her brother, who was staying in Montauk, before returning home to Ireland.
When the restaurant closed, the party allegedly moved to a house on Clover Leaf Lane in Wainscott that Mr. Lee was renting for the summer with his wife, Alicia Lee. Ms. Lee, a financial advisor for Goldman Sachs, was in the city at the time. While the other revelers were drinking and bathing in a hot tub in the backyard, Mr. Lee allegedly followed D. into the house to a bathroom, where he is said to have forced his way in, held her down on the floor, and raped her.
At the same time, one of the students had borrowed Mr. Duncan's car. When the student did not return, Mr. Duncan, who has not been accused of any wrong doing, called the police. Police had been investigating a series of car thefts in the area; their response was rapid.
When Mr. Lee found out that his friend had called the police, he allegedly hid in the back seat of his Range Rover. While police were investigating the report of a stolen car (the vehicle was later found outside a Montauk house where several of the students were staying), D.'s brother pulled a female officer aside, directing her to his sister, who was crying.
The grand larceny investigation quickly morphed into a rape investigation, with police now looking for Mr. Lee. They found him about 45 minutes later.
Beyond any physical evidence and testimony (the prosecution has been adamant that D. will return to testify, if need be), if no plea bargain is reached and the case goes to trial, Mr. Lee's legal team would have to explain to a jury why he hid from the police.
Mr. Lee was a leader in the field convertibles and equities. A 2009 biography of him, written when he was participating in a conference at the Milken Institute, described he had handled many of Goldman Sachs's "most complicated financing and risk-management transactions for corporate clients."
In recent weeks, mention of Mr. Lee has been removed from the Milken Institute's website. Goldman Sachs spokespersons will not comment on the terms of Mr. Lee's departure from the firm.
Mr. Lee's Friday court date was adjourned until Sept. 19. Whether there is any deal to be made is now up to him.