The rich & infamous

Vandalism, Xanax and a Jeff Bagwell affair: The lowlights of the dirt-tastic Michael Brown trial

Vandalism, Xanax and a Jeff Bagwell affair: The lowlights of the dirt-tastic Michael Brown trial

Events_Michael Brown_August 10
Michael Brown Courtesy of Harris County Sheriff's Office
News_Rachel Brown_in court
Rachel Brown in court last week Photo via My Fox Houston/Channel 26
Events_Michael Brown_August 10
News_Rachel Brown_in court

It's not exactly the trial of the century, but the assault case against Brown Hand Center owner and ex-doctor Michael Brown has more rings than a circus and more dirt than a West Texas windstorm. With closing arguments completed on Monday afternoon, the question at hand for the jurors is whether Brown violently twisted his wife Rachel's arm during a fight on Aug. 12, 2010.

 Women! Can't live with them, can't beat them up when they try to leave.

 The question for us, the peanut gallery, is how to parse through all the details of a less-than-glamorous day in the life of the rich and infamous. Here are our favorite tibdits:

- A main point of contention between the prosecution and the defense was whether Rachel Brown's new relationship would be submitted into evidence. Why? Because she's dating former Astros All-Star Jeff Bagwell. Rachel Brown says the relationship began in January 2011, five months after the alleged assault in question and the same month she filed for divorce from Michael Brown, though she did admit to going to Cabo San Lucas with him in 2010.

The courtroom was atwitter (like, literally, it was on Twitter) that Bagwell had been subpoenaed and might have to testify, but he never made an appearance. (The lawyers are calling the relationship an "affair" since both Brown and Bagwell have yet to officially divorce, but Bagwell has been separated since mid-2010 and Brown has had a no-contact order with her husband since last August.)

- This trial makes being a rich lady sound pretty awesome. According to testimony, Rachel Brown received a voicemail on Aug. 12 in the middle of the afternoon in which her husband, having pocket-dialed her cell phone, could be heard with another woman in the background. Why did she miss the call? She was napping. (Which you can do when you've got four nannies, just like Camille Grammer.)

In another part of the trial, Rachel's friend Debbie Festari was called to the stand by the defense to testify that Rachel had not wanted to press charges against her husband, and when confronted by defense attorney Dick DeGuerin about the discrepancies between her courtroom testimony and what she'd said to him in a call he recorded, Festari said she couldn't be sure what she told him on the phone because he'd called her at 6 p.m. and she'd been drinking with her girlfriends since noon.

- Of course, being rich can also create problems. Defense attorneys argued that Rachel Brown was an equal participant in the argument because before her husband returned for a confrontation, she gathered and hid the keys to all his luxury cars. After the incident, she also scratched the words "Fuck you" into the hood of his Lamborghini. Women! Can't live with them, can't beat them up when they try to leave.

- According to testimony defense attorney Dick DeGuerin repeated many, many times, Rachel Brown confronted her husband about her suspicions of infidelity in part by demanding "Who were you fucking last night?" What the jury doesn't know is that the answer is even more sordid than Rachel thought. According to excluded testimony from Brown's bodyguard, the night before the alleged assault Michael Brown was patronizing the services of a "massage parlor." Defense attorneys successfully argued that the jury might be prejudiced by that little revelation.

- The defense argues that the panic attacks for which she takes anti-anxiety medications might have led Rachel Brown to mistake or mis-perceive the events from last August. In its closing, the prosecuction countered that she had only been having panic attacks for eight-and-a-half years, or roughly the amount of time she'd been married to the defendant. Oh, snap!

- Though the charge is related to the alleged arm-twisting, the prosecution has also hammered home the irony of Michael Brown allegedly throwing his 2010 Joanne King Herring Humanitarian Award at his wife along with two heavy vases. That humanitarian award is becoming as much of a liability for Herring as giving all those weapons to the Taliban back in the '80s.

- Just in case the story wasn't tabloid enough, there's now an animated re-enactment of the scene, made in Taiwan.

When the jury returns with a verdict on the assualt of a family member charge — a felony charge because Brown has previously pled guilty to assaulting ex-wife Darlina — he could be sentenced to anything from probation to 10 years in jail.