Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the attempted murder and sexual assault trial of “War Machine,” the former MMA fighter accused of threatening to kill and then brutally attacking his girlfriend and another man he caught in bed with her.
The arguments are scheduled to begin at approximately 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific. LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network will stream the arguments live.
Defense attorneys Wednesday presented medical evidence that War Machine, formerly known as Jonathan Koppenhaver, had brain damage that would have rendered him unable to recognize whether his actions were right or wrong. The doctor who presented the testimony suggested that brain damage, coupled with prescription drugs and steroid abuse, would cause a person exhibit impulse-driven behavior. He admitted on cross-examination that he couldn’t recall his own fee structure for testifying and, when presented with his fee statement, that his own fees were too high. He blamed the issue on “the girls” back at his office. The doctor also admitted on cross-examination that brain scans of War Machine did not exhibit the clearly-defined lesions evident in a scan prosecutors presented of a damaged brain, but stuck to his claim that War Machine suffered brain injuries at some unknown point in the past.
Defense attorneys also elicited testimony from another doctor this week that the injuries sustained by victim Christine Mackinday, known professionally as “Christy Mack” in the adult film world, were not as serious as she testified. That doctor said the injuries to Mack’s face were likely the result of only two strikes, though he admitted there could have been more. He also called into question the number of broken bones Mack claimed to have had.
Prosecutors attacked that latter claim as a misunderstanding between Mack and one of the first physicians who treated her in the emergency room. Mack, still stinging from the attack, recalled being told she had as many as eighteen broken bones. The doctor who made the original determination testified that his preliminary examination of her wounds suggested she probably had that many broken bones. The number of broken bones turned out to be fewer.
Multiple witnesses corroborated Mack’s story that the attack was sustained, vicious, and violent, including Corey Thomas, who was also injured. The doctor who treated Mack also said she described the attack to him in the ER just as she had explained it to the jury. Mack’s mother testified that she witnessed increasing abuse in the relationship, then went on to testify that War Machine told her on the night of the attack that he had gotten into a fight with Mack and “had to” beat her up.
War Machine appears to admit that the attack happened in Twitter posts made from his account during the trial and attributed to him. He appears to be tweeting through a surrogate while in jail. However, the statements attributed to War Machine question the severity of the charges and state that the prosecutor merely wanted a “media circus.”
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