Jurors will begin deliberations today in the spousal threat trial of football legend Jim Brown, debating whether to believe his wife's original allegations against him or her subsequent recanting.
In closing arguments Wednesday, both defense and prosecution lawyers painted Brown's wife, Monique, as a disturbed woman but left jurors to choose between two very different profiles of her.
Deputy City Atty. Grace Kim Lee contended that the 25-year-old model has suffered a history of abuse at the hands of her husband but that she recanted her accusations because she needs his financial support. The prosecutor characterized her as a victim of battered wife syndrome and said she has spent her two-year marriage surrounded by her husband's friends and bodyguards in his "fortress-like" home in the Hollywood Hills.
Among other indignities, Lee said, Monique Brown even consented to having her husband bring home another woman so that the three of them could have sex. So it is no surprise, the prosecutor claimed, that she would be intimidated into defending her 63-year-old husband. "Will she be willing to lie to get her husband off?" Lee asked. "Absolutely."
The Hall of Famer faces misdemeanor charges of making terrorist threats and smashing the window of his wife's car during a June 15 argument. Prosecutors say that the defendant had threatened to kill his wife by "snapping her neck" and that she ran to a neighbor's house to call 911.
Although a distressed Monique Brown told the 911 operator that her husband had threatened her, she told police the next day that she had lied in that call.
If convicted, the defendant could be sentenced to 18 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
During closing arguments Wednesday at Hollywood Municipal Court, defense lawyer William Graysen characterized his client's wife as troubled but insisted that she does not suffer from battered wife syndrome.
Graysen told jurors that she has been diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder that makes her prone to anger, paranoia and feelings of abandonment. Repeating her testimony in court, Graysen said she made up the allegations against her husband as revenge because she suspected that he was having an affair with another woman.
"She likes to get people," Graysen said. "Watch out. She will bring a firestorm down on you, and she will not care."
According to Graysen, Monique Brown never feared for her safety and such fear is required to prove a charge of terrorist threats.
As for the smashed car windows, he argued that the car Jim Brown damaged was his own. Although the title to the vehicle was in his wife's name, Graysen said that was just for insurance purposes.