Deliberations to continue Wednesday in sex assault trial of former Istanbul Sofra owner |

Deliberations to continue Wednesday in sex assault trial of former Istanbul Sofra owner

Megan Guza

Jurors deliberated for four hours in the sexual assault trial against Adnan Pehlivan before recessing for the evening without reaching a verdict.

The jury of eight men and four women began deliberating about 12:30 p.m. and broke shortly before 5 p.m. They will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Pehlivan, 47, a former Regent Square restaurateur, is accused of stalking the alleged victim and her friends from the bar to their home before breaking into the woman’s basement living space and sexually assaulting her.

Jurors came back about 2:45 p.m. with questions. Jurors asked to hear the 911 call again and to see the very beginning of footage from inside Kopy’s bar when the women arrive as well as the end when they leave.

They also asked whether the fear or harm that is integral to the charge of stalking had to occur during the stalking. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning said the fear can occur before, during or after the incident.

Prior to beginning deliberations, jurors head closing arguments from both sides that painted two very different pictures of what happened the night of May 14 into the early hours of May 15.

Lee Rothman, defense attorney for the former Istanbul Sofra restaurant owner, contended that the alleged victim in the case simply regretted a hook up and wanted to save herself the embarrassment.

“When a young lady decides she wants to do something and decides in the middle she doesn’t want to continue, whose fault is it?” Rothman asked the jury. “She wants to deflect blame for her own decision on someone else.”

Assistant District Attorney Edward Scheid pointed to the 90-minute footage from inside Kopy’s bar that showed the women’s interactions with Pehlivan over the course of the night. He argued that just because she accepted drinks from Pehlivan, it doesn’t mean that she was interested in him.

“They ignore him – you saw the video,” Scheid said of the woman and her friends.

He said that if the woman really wanted to invite Pehlivan back to her Josephine Street home, she could have jotted down her address for him or just told it to him during conversation. He said that the contention from Pehlivan and Rothman that the woman instructed Pehlivan to follow her home is unrealistic.

“Does that make any rational sense to anybody?” he asked the jury, referencing an 11-minute video showing Pehlivan following the women as they walked from South 12th Street to their cars at South 18th Street.

The footage showed Pehlivan passing the women, pulling over, and waiting for them to pass before repeating the maneuver three more times.

Rothman pointed to the lack of fingerprints and marks on the window Pehlivan is alleged to have climbed through to break into the alleged victim’s basement living area. He implied that the woman’s roommate, who took the stand last week, lied when she testified that several officers helped her secure the window.

“These young ladies all took the stand and provided you with falsehoods on several occasions,” Rothman said.

He pointed to discrepancies between the testimony of the alleged victim and that of her roommate. He noted text messages showing the alleged victim texted her roommate about 1:10 a.m. to say goodnight.

That, he said, is because the woman wanted to get downstairs to let Pehlivan in.

Scheid pointed to the alleged victim’s reactions as testified to by her friends and first responders.

“There’s no script on how a sexual assault victim is going to react to trauma,” he said.

He noted how the women and police testified that the woman remained naked from the waist down for a stretch of time, that she was crying and, when her friends found her, screaming.

“Are the screams necessary? Is the raw nakedness necessary? (Are those) the acts of a woman who just had consensual relations with Adnan Pehlivan?” Scheid asked jurors. “Is there a script for that? Or are we talking about a woman’s trauma?”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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