Last summer, police say, off duty NYPD officer Michael Pena, drunk late at night, grabbed a Manhattan woman off the street, pulled her behind a building, and raped her at gunpoint. This case, which could be just another NYPD Rape Cop case, is remarkable for its wondrous levels of twisted logic.

His legal team's (real) initial defense: "whatever happened, there was certainly no intent on the part of Michael Pena to hurt anybody."

Pena's initial explanation to his boss: "I wanted to call my girlfriend, but how am I going to call her when I got arrested for cheating with another girl?"

And now, as Pena's trial begins, his lawyer (a different one!) has presented this novel legal defense: Sure, yes, he did all that stuff. But that doesn't mean it's rape. "He did in fact assault her," said Pena's attorney. But! From the NYDN:

"This was a terrible crime, an unforgivable crime, but it does not rise to the level of the charges," defense attorney Ephraim Savitt said.

Savitt claimed the cop didn't penetrate the alleged victim, suggesting he should be spared a life sentence for rape. It was an attempted rape, he said.

Only an attempted rape. (There is semen evidence and an eyewitness who says that penetration did occur.) Mistakes were made, yes. But only attempted mistakes.

[Photo: rollingrck/ Flickr]