The Osteen Trial: The Greatest Upset Ever (Didn't Happen)
“This is like David and Goliath, and Victoria is not David,” Reginald McKamie said in the closing argument of the trial he lost this morning. A more accurate comparison would have been “This is like a pretty incompetent attorney with an extremely flimsy case…and Goliath.”
Perhaps the most astounding thing McKamie did this morning was to try to impeach the testimony of a witness he had called yesterday – a witness who actually supported the defense. That was Barbara Shedden, a passenger on the fateful flight, who said she didn’t see an assault take place. Presumably, McKamie had called her to the stand to say otherwise. So this morning, McKamie backpedaled and told the jury there was actually a “blind spot” that would have prevented her from seeing an assault anyway.
So, just to be clear: Instead of simply not bringing up Shedden’s testimony, he actually reminded the jury that his own witness said it never happened while simultaneously asking them to disregard it because she couldn’t have seen it anyway.
Other questionable tactics of McKamie’s included:
Bringing up the O.J. Simpson civil trial, by asking “Where did the Goldmans and the Browns” get justice? (To be fair, while Ron Goldman and Denise Brown were nearly decapitated and found soaking in a pool of blood, there was no indication either of them had been elbowed in the boob, which is what real suffering’s all about)
Using circa 1988 computer imagery that…well…really doesn’t serve any purpose, exemplified by the aforementioned pictures of a hammer and a ruler, and big yellow type on a blue screen that said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED! And IGNORE IT – NO BIG DEAL, which McKamie never really explained
Violating the procedures of jurisprudence by trying to introduce testimony outside the record. Dude, that’s just not cool.
Hardin started his closing argument in a soft, somber tone, saying he didn’t want to call the trial “frivolous.”
“I want to call it a sacrilege,” he said, elaborating that he found it offensive to people who have suffered what he felt was legitimate mental anguish and physical suffering, like veterans. While Brown’s psychiatrist had earlier testified that Brown showed signs of PTSD, Harding said that in his previous career in the district attorney’s office, he had prosecuted rapists whose victims, Hardin believed, had true PTSD.
He then spent the remainder of the time going over the evidence, of which there was hardly any on Brown’s side.
The jury apparently agreed, and in statements to the media afterward, foreman Gilles Labbe said the jury did not believe there was any evidence of an assault, and he characterized whatever happened as “a minor disturbance.”
“I fly all the time. I’ve seen a lot worse than that happen,” he said, later adding, “The incident was not worthy of the time spent to adjudicate.” And, answering the question that was on everyone’s mind: “The word ‘hemorrhoid’ was not spoken in the jury room.”
Victoria Osteen said afterwards that she was able to “stand strong” over the past three years because she “knew the truth,” and that “We’re just going to move forward and wish everyone the best.”
Responding to questions about how the couple felt about Sharon Brown and Continental Airlines, Joel Osteen said, “We feel bad for her…we have no ill rapport with her or Continental or anybody…it is a great vindication and shows us the faithfulness of God.”
When asked what he was going to do next, he said “I’m going to go home and play basketball with my kids tonight,” which we’re pretty sure is code for “I’m going to put a flaming bag of dog poop on Sharon Brown’s doorstep.”
-- Craig Malisow
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.