In court on Monday, during a hearing in which his defense lawyers argued that, because she is an adult film actress, Christine Mackinday, or “Christy Mack,” couldn’t accuse their client of rape, Jonathan Koppenhaver, a mixed martial arts fighter who goes by “War Machine,” blew a kiss to the prosecutor.
“Judge, for the record, Mr. Koppenhaver just blew a kiss at me,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth said, interrupting defense attorney Brandon Sua’s argument. Sua, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, said he didn’t see it:
“I’m not going to make up that he blew a kiss at me, which I find offensive,” Bluth said.
District Judge Elissa Cadish turned to the defendant, who was seated in the jury box, while shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit: “Mr. Koppenhaver, stop. You are not to make any gestures of any kind toward counsel. Don’t go there.”
Koppenhaver smiled. “Yes, mam.”
Koppenhaver faces 34 felony charges related to his alleged abuse of Mackinday, including kidnapping, attempted murder, and sexual assault. Mackinday, his ex-girlfriend, posted a long account, with photos, detailing the brutal attack that nearly left her dead in August of last year.
The interruption came while Sua was making an argument that Mackinday’s career induced in her “desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”
The question at hand is whether defense lawyers will be prohibited from introducing victims’ sexual history as evidence. Outside the courtroom, Sua told the Review-Journal: “The jury needs to know the nature of this relationship, and what was customary and consensual.”
Bluth argued that this is precisely the kind of thing rape shield laws are designed to protect against. “Because she consented to those acts through her course of employment does not mean the defendant is then entitled to think he can do that to her,” she said. “You can’t make that leap.”
The judge ordered that Sua turn over text messages he alluded to in his argument to the court for judicial review.