War Machine blew a kiss to the prosecutor Monday.
In the midst of a lengthy hearing on sexual assault charges against the mixed martial arts fighter also known as Jonathan Koppenhaver, just as his defense lawyers argued that alleged victim Christine Mackinday had made false rape allegations in the past, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth interrupted.
“Judge, for the record, Mr. Koppenhaver just blew a kiss at me,” she said.
Defense attorney Brandon Sua 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, ma’am.”
Prosecutors have alleged that Koppenhaver brutally beat the former adult film actress, whose working name is Christy Mack, and her friend Corey Thomas. Koppenhaver faces 34 charges, which stem from allegations stretching as far back as May 2013, including five counts of sexual assault and two counts of attempted murder.
The Review-Journal typically doesn’t name victims of sexual abuse, but Mackinday has spoken publicly about the abuse.
Las Vegas police said Koppenhaver attacked Mackinday and Thomas in her home near the Las Vegas National Golf Club in August 2014. Koppenhaver burst into the home and accused Mack of cheating on him before assaulting Thomas, according to a police report. Koppenhaver choked and punched Thomas for nearly 10 minutes before telling him to leave and instructing Thomas not to call police, according to the report.
Mackinday dialed 911 while Thomas was being attacked and then hid the phone. Koppenhaver punched her as they went into a bathroom before he forced her to take a shower, according to the report.
She suffered a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places.
In court Monday, defense lawyers also argued that Mackinday’s work in pornography pointed to consent and that Koppenhaver and Mackinday often engaged in rough sex.
Mackinday’s career lead to her “desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm,” Sua said.
Koppenhaver met Mackinday while making an adult movie.
“The jury needs to know the nature of this relationship, and what was customary and consensual,” Sua said outside the courtroom.
Prosecutors argued that rape shield laws, which limit the ability of defendants to introduce evidence of victims’ sexual history, should prohibit defense lawyers from revealing the details of Mackinday’s movies to a jury.
“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,” Bluth said. “You can’t make that leap.”
The judge questioned whether pornography established consent but asked Sua for a written motion explaining the history of the sexual relationship between Mackinday and Koppenhaver.
“I don’t see how any of those activities that she did in adult movies would ever show her consent to the acts with the defendant that he’s charged with,” Cadish said. “I’m not seeing that connection.”
Text messages from Koppenhaver’s phone would call into question the validity of Mackinday’s statements about the attack, Sua said.
Prosecutors said they didn’t know Koppenhaver had kept the phone. The ex-Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter was arrested in California a week after the Aug. 8, 2014, assault and has been in custody since.
The judge ordered Sua to turn that phone over to prosecutors by next week.
The defense attorney said text messages from the night of the alleged attack showed “ample evidence of (Mackinday) enticing Mr. Koppenhaver to come over that evening, ample evidence of her consenting to him being there.”
Bluth said she needed to review the entirety of the messages.
Contact reporter David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker