Brown Trial: Rachel And Bagwell, Sittin' in a Tree
Judge Jim Wallace did not allow Michael Brown's lawyers to introduce evidence that the ex-hand surgeon's wife is banging former Astro Jeff Bagwell in Brown's assault trial today.
Arguing admissibility after the jury was excused, attorney Dick DeGuerin got Rachel Brown, 37, to admit to having an ongoing relationship with Bagwell that began in January 2011, five months after Dr. Brown was charged with twisting her arm.
Since the assault stemmed in part over Rachel's angry suspicion that her husband was having an affair, the jury should have been told that Rachel was herself having an extramarital affair, co-counsel Brian Wice told Hair Balls. (After some initial confusion, Rachel said the affair didn't begin until the same month she filed for divorce, so it's unclear how much weight the relationship would have had anyway).
The Bagwell bombshell followed testimony that kicked off with the jury hearing phone calls Rachel recorded following the August 13, 2010 incident. The tapes revealed that Brown was vacillating between anger/loopiness ("You put your fucking hands, your mind, your brain on me!") to sadness ("You haven't said 'I love you' in a long time'...I can't live up to your standards -- I'm sorry. I'm very sorry.")
For her part, Rachel, sounding measured, offered up things like "You need help, Michael. You're losing control of your life."
DeGuerin spent much of the day trying to paint Rachel as a semi-delusional harpie, prone to panic attacks and fits of jealous rage, living the high life courtesy of her husband, who was but a victim of her feminine wiles. (Remember: the jury wasn't allowed to hear anything about Brown mercilessly beating his previous, pregnant wife with a broken bedpost, and making a truly bizarre video where he put an apparently loaded gun into his mouth, and yakked about how wives need to obey their husbands/owners. Isn't it awesome when you, as a defense attorney, can totally pretend that never happened? Boo-yah!)
To this end, DeGuerin got Rachel to admit that she scratched the words "fuck you" into the hood of Brown's Lamborghini after the incident, and that she takes anti-depressants. (Imagine -- Lexapro and Xanax! How uncommon!)
Although DeGuerin tried to score points by tallying up how much money Brown pays per month on security, private school tuition, domestic staff, child support and other expenses in an apparent suggestion that it's okay to beat your wife as long as you keep her on the dole, that line of questioning didn't seem as strong as when he presented an affidavit of non-prosecution Rachel signed after Brown was charged -- an affidavit wherein Rachel swore that she wished to recant her allegations and have the state drop the charges. On the stand, however, Rachel testified that she believed the affidavit would only prevent her from having to testify and that she never wanted the charges to be dropped.
DeGuerin also grilled Rachel about a phone call to a friend she allegedly made Tuesday, saying she was riddled with guilt for bringing charges against Brown, and wishing he wouldn't be convicted. But Rachel said she only told her friend that she was nervous about having to testify.
We had actually expected harsher grilling, and maybe some sort of breakdown on the stand, but Rachel -- though soft-spoken -- came off strong. Of course, there's only so much to be expected from a trial that hinges on whether a dude pulled a woman's arm kinda hard.
The sad thing is, while most of the trial so far has basically been a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and supremely fucked-up, Rachel's 13-year-old daughter is scheduled to testify tomorrow. (She's Brown's step-daughter). Now that's just not cool.
We remember sitting in a Montgomery County courthouse during Brown's custody battle with his previous wife -- you know, the one he beat the shit out of -- and watching Rachel take the stand to testify, all Stepford-like, on Brown's behalf. A trial in which Brown, in a mortifying attempt to attack his ex-wife's character, had his lawyer show the jury magnified photographs of his daughters' genitalia, saying the girls had been sexually abused by the ex-wife's boyfriend. Rachel knew full well what kind of man she was sticking up for.
And tomorrow, her daughter, who had no say over whether she would be raised by a violent, cocaine-abusing control freak, might be dragged into this repugnant mess, created in part by her mother. That's heartbreaking, and we are in no way looking forward to it.
Check out the Taiwanese-animation video of the Brown story here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.