Hugues Akassy

, who is accused of raping a woman in Riverside Park in 2010, forcing a different woman to give him oral sex, and stalking numerous other women, took the stand yesterday. And though he has been portrayed as a homeless squatter, Akassy wasted no time portraying himself as an irresistible ladies man skilled in the fine art of seduction, from his love of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sex And The City to his four college degrees and sonorous French accent. “You say sex—I say ‘making love,’” he corrected his defense lawyer yesterday.

Akassy, 43, was arrested last year for allegedly raping a Russian woman during a picnic date in Riverside Park. A travel agent also has testified that he forced her to give him oral sex after she took him to the rooftop of her East Side apartment building in November 2007. Akassy described his romance with the latter woman: he said he met her in Central Park when he saw her smoking a cigarette while he was enjoying a solo wine and cheese picnic: "It's a shame you try to destroy that beautiful body with a smoke," Akassy said he told the woman. Later on, he dropped the line, "All we do is just the oral things. Why don't we just make love now?"

Many other women answered the Manhattan DA's office's request for encounters with Akassy, who claimed to be a journalist, including a museum conservator who said he called her "retarded" and "idiotic" after rejecting him. Akassy testified that it didn't work out because she wasn't an animal lover, and he was turned off as she coldly watched a duck being attacked by raccoons. “I got up and I say, ‘Look, Central Park look like a safari sometimes.’ Because I am from Africa and I know safari...I make a love connection when I am with the little animals,” he added.

There was also a Manhattan lawyer whom he called "rude, phony and a jerk" when she rejected him: "Her behavior was shallow." And there was the woman who said he was stalking her, continuing to email her and show up outside her apartment. But Akassy says he was just subletting an apartment near where she lived.

Akassy showed off some of his wooing techniques to jurors to try to show why so many ladies found him so attractive. He portrayed himself as a sophisticate seducer, noting that one of his four degrees is in classical music, he wear ascots, he had a jazz band in Paris, and he regularly met women in the city's museums. To top things off, he recited the lyrics of a French love song which he said he used to woo at least one woman.