Two things were made abundantly clear at the Victoria Osteen trial today: one is that Sharon Brown deserves millions upon millions of dollars for being attacked by a rabidly out-of-control harpie; and the other is that there is simply no greater attorney in Houston – nay, in world history – than Reginald McKamie.
During an afternoon consumed by watching the videotaped testimony of Continental flight attendant Verssie Ray and the live human testimony of Osteen (an afternoon that was by no means boring, monotonous, mind-numbingly dull or lethally tranquilizing) McKamie proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that his client, Sharon Brown, suffered untold nightmares from a monster cloaked in the garb of a preacher’s wife.
This afternoon produced the moment everyone was waiting for: the testimony of Osteen herself.
A collective gasp filled the room as two bailiffs, armed with cattle prods, wheeled the straitjacketed Osteen in on a dolly, her face obscured by a Hannibal Lecter face-mask. One man fainted and a woman nearly crushed her wailing infant into her bosom. After the guards carefully removed Osteen’s encumbrances, she raised her right claw and promised to tell the whole truth and to not make any sudden movements.
Brown sat conspicuously still throughout the ensuing testimony, no doubt a result of her painful hemorrhoids, which probably make every movement, no matter how slight, feel like a serrated edge carving out her insides.
That’s when McKamie whipped out his beautiful mind and dropped legal maneuvers, the likes of which haven’t been seen since F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Johnnie Cochran, and Clarence Darrow’s corpse argued over their tab at a West L.A. Hooters.
To a mind uneducated in the complexities of jurisprudence, McKanie’s questions might have appeared pointless, ill-prepared, desperate, the spittle-flecked rantings of a feral man-child; or sort of like if Corky from Life Goes On dressed as a lawy-uh for Halloween.
But such was not the case. First, McKamie peppered Osteen with a bunch of questions about the videotaped testimony everyone had just watched, testimony in which flight attendant Ray said Osteen suggested to Ray that she actually clean up the mysterious liquid pooled in the armrest-tray to Osteen’s seat. Ray testified that Osteen grabbed Sharon Brown (the plaintiff) and dragged her to the moist seat in question.
That’s when McKamie went at Osteen, Lennox Lewis-style. He asked her if she learned early in life not to touch people. Then he asked her if she learned early in life that you don’t hit people. Then he asked her if she learned early in life that you don’t grab people.
It clearly threw Osteen off – she appeared to slip at one point and say, “Osteen hit! Osteen smash!” before her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, put the kibosh on that.
McKamie then rattled off a series of “Did you hear?” questions regarding Ray’s deposition. He asked Osteen if she heard Ray say that Osteen was loud on the day in question. He asked Osteen if she heard Ray say that Brown said that Osteen hit her. He asked Osteen if she heard Ray say that Osteen asked for napkins. Boo-yah! McKamie had her wrapped around his nimble, totally Matlock-ian finger: Osteen had no choice but to say “Yes” to every question. (I shuddered to think about what if that had been me on the stand – I, too, would have had no choice but to admit that I did in fact hear Ray say all of those things).
McKamie continued this brilliant strategy by asking Osteen to read from an affidavit she gave in 2007. Instead of doing the obvious thing like getting her to contradict anything she previously swore to, McKamie proved once again why he’s a lawyer’s lawyer: he got Osteen to admit that she actually signed the affidavit, and that it was actually sworn before a notary. Guilty on all counts! Boo-fucking-yah!
McKamie then got all legal-prop on her ass: he whipped out the Giant-Notepad-on-an-Easel. He then wrote a list of all the different dates and situations Osteen denied that she pushed and hit Sharon Brown. These included a Larry King interview, a letter to the FAA, and even in court today. Boo-yah Part Three! He totally nailed her by getting her to admit that, on many occasions over two and a half years, she consistently denied assaulting Brown. It was majestic.
This of course left Rusty Hardin with not much to do but ask Osteen to leave the stand and physically demonstrate how close she was to Brown during their encounter, and approximately how close Osteen’s sunglasses were to Brown’s face – an integral part of McKamie’s case.
Hardin did catch McKamie by surprise, though, when he asked Osteen to read an open letter to her congregation she posted on the Lakewood Church website. (McKamie objected to this, even though he had tried to get Osteen to read the same letter half an hour earlier, a tactic he had to surrender when he couldn’t find the fucking thing).
Osteen cried when reading the letter, which assured her congregation that she would never deliberately act in a way to disrespect them or God – waterworks that caused a few of Brown’s fellow flight attendants in the audience to sigh cynically. Osteen’s tears elicited the same response from her husband Joel, who dabbed at his eyes with a wadded-up tissue.
Osteen testified that, knowing what she knows now, she would not have paid a $3,000 fine to the FAA (a payment that did not require that she admit any guilt) because it’s now being used against her.
“If you are innocent, stick with it,” Osteen said she’d say to anyone else in a similar predicament, i.e., any other wife of a millionaire mega-church leader who is accused of giving ass-boils to a flight attendant.
Hardin rested around 4 p.m., making it look like everyone might get out of court at a reasonable time, but McKamie knew better – he knew that the correct way to curry favor from the jury was to keep them and the judge as late as possible on a Friday afternoon. It was a genius move, because his cross-examination got him to once again point out that Osteen could have put her bags in the overhead compartment or under her seat before she asked any flight attendant to clean up the mess. Yes, that sentence is correct. Your eyes are not deceiving you. McKamie drove that point home again and again and again. And then again, again.
Stay tuned for more coverage from Monday’s continuation, when McKamie will no doubt prove how he could take on the entire U.S. Supreme Court with one brain tied behind his back.
-- Craig Malisow
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