Saudi Royal Family Friend Convicted of Rape in New York

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Mustapha Ouanes, a member of a Saudi prince's traveling entourage charged with rape in New York, was just convicted on four felony counts including first-degree rape. The 60-year-old engineer brought two women back to his hotel room at the Plaza after a night of drinking in 2010 and, when they fell asleep, raped one of them, the jury found.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office announced the conviction via email, quoting District Attorney Cy Vance, who said: "This was a crime of opportunity – the defendant had a vulnerable, intoxicated woman in his hotel room and sexually assaulted her."  There's no word yet on what kind of sentencing the state's going to look for, but first-degree rape carries a penalty of five to 25 years in New York. Ouanes was convicted of one count of first-degree rape, in addition to one count each of sexual abuse and a criminal sexual act, the district attorney's office said.

If you remember, this same trial got underway with three very different accounts in the local press, which ranged from a near write-off of the possibility of rape in the New York Post to a lengthy trip through the salacious details in each side's version, in The New York Times. The prosecution painted a picture of a drunken night during which Ouanes and the two women, both in their 20s, all retired to Ouanes's room at the Plaza Hotel, where the women fell asleep. The Times recounted the prosecution's side this way:

[Prosecutor Samuel] David said that the two women began feeling ill and “passed out” on the bed in the room. When they awoke, he said, Mr. Ouanes was engaged in sex with one of the women, and she fought to free herself, eventually breaking a glass that she had intended to use as a possible weapon to slice Mr. Ouanes’s throat. Her friend, who Mr. David said awoke to find her leggings had been pulled down, called hotel security.

Ouanes is a 60-year-old Algerian-born engineer and citizen of Canada, who works for a firm that contracts with the Saudi royal family, and spent about half his time working and traveling with a Saudi prince (who has not been publicly identified), his lawyers told the court as his trial got underway.

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