It doesn't matter what Lawrence Taylor thought.
If the NFL legend had sex with an underage girl, according to the law, it's statutory rape.
According to the criminal complaint, the 16-year-old girl told an FBI agent her pimp instructed her to tell LT that she was 19.
But under New York law, it doesn't matter if the girl lied to Taylor about her age. If the girl is underage, it's statutory rape.
Uber New York criminal defense lawyer Ben Brafman tells TMZ, "The age of the person is what controls, not what [the defendant] thought." Under the law, it's called "strict liability" -- meaning it doesn't matter if LT had a reasonable belief that the girl was over the age of consent.
Brafman says sometimes juries will go beyond the law if they believe the defendant acted reasonably -- but the law, Brafman says, is rigid.
Brafman also notes that sometimes "the issue gets resolved at the [police] precinct level," if the cops think the suspect made an honest error.
Harder to do when the suspect is a celeb.