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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — When a husband or wife cries, can their tears be used as evidence against them?

Yes, the North Carolina Court of Appeals says in one case, ruling Tuesday that crying isn’t protected by confidential communication between spouses.

The case involves alleged serial rapist Lesiba Simon Matsoake, a South African man who appealed his conviction in the rape of a woman on a Kill Devil Hills beach in June 2003. His now ex-wife, Ruth Hart, testified that she first became suspicious of her husband when he started crying while looking at a composite sketch of the attacker, presumably a drawing that looked similar to him.

Matsoake appealed his conviction, but the appeals court said the spousal protection covers spoken words, not crying.

Matsoake is also accused of sexual assaults in Virginia.

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