MANHATTAN (CN) – New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall appeared in court Tuesday for opening arguments in a federal lawsuit accusing the NFL star of punching a woman at a nightclub in 2012.
Marshall, dressed in a wide pin-stripe suit, looked vaguely overwhelmed as lawyers on both sides each reenacted punches thrown in the 2012 nightclub melee during their opening remarks.
Christen Myles, 28, is suing Marshall for more than $75,000 for the March 12, 2012, incident.
In U.S. District Judge George B. Daniel’s courtroom, Myles described going out for her 24th birthday that night, which began as a double date at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and led to bottle service in the VIP second floor of the upscale nightclub Marquee. Myles passed around her camera that night for candid party photos, which were the first items entered into evidence since they’re how Myles was able to identify the tattooed arm that punched her in the face as belonging to the then-Miami Dolphins player.
During opening remarks, both sides told different stories of the 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pound football player landing a single punch on the then-unemployed executive assistant and birthday girl.
Myles’ lawyer Joshua Moscovitz called Marshall “ego-bruised” after someone in Marquee threw a bottle at his wife, Michi Nogami. Moscovitz said Marshall was “lying in wait” outside the club for five minutes, furiously pounding in his fist in hand with anger, and said Marshall mistook Myles for the women who threw the bottle at Nogami.
Marshall “may not have started what happened inside,” Moscovitz said, “but he was certainly going to finish it.” Moscovitz ended his opening statement by emphasizing the “machismo” involved in the single punch that gave Myles a black eye, a cut eyelid and a face that was bruised for weeks.
Myles acknowledged on the stand that she took a swing at Marshall’s friend out of anger. She broke down into tears as she recounted putting “two and two together” to realize that Marshall and his entourage were responsible for Marquee’s chaos that night, which ruined her birthday party which her brother had traveled from Boston to celebrate with her.
Marshall’s attorney Harvey Steinberg painted the nightclub fracas in a different light with Christen Myles as the aggressor. He argued Myles only sued Marshall because she later found out he is professional football player.
“If he wasn’t a professional athlete, I don’t think we’d be in this courtroom,” Steinberg told the jury at the end of his opening statement.
Steinberg portrayed his client as one who showed incredible restraint by retreating from chaotic nightclub violence, “cradling” his wife whose “lips were cut open like a butterfly.” The attorney said Marshall had to find Nogami’s missing teeth on the floor of Marquee in the aftermath of the thrown bottle, and that the NFL star frequently deferred to Marquee security to get him out of the 2:00 a.m. ruckus.
Marshall’s attorney used a red laser pointer to follow the action in grainy, choppy black-and-white security camera footage from inside the club, pointing out two ice buckets and two liquor bottles thrown at Marshall and his wife.
Steinberg also showed security footage from outside Marquee, where the punches occurred, then reenacted the balled-fist punch that Myles threw toward Marshall and his entourage – spinning to emphasize the gusto and span of Myles’ tipsy swing-and-miss. He pointed out Marshall, his wife and friends retreating in waves from Myles and the sidewalk melee.
Myles’ lawyer emphasized the strength and brutality of Marshall the football player.
Conversely, Steinberg asked the jury “not to hold it against” Marshall that he is a professional athlete, but rather to see him as a husband who “exercised admirable restraint” while trying to protect himself and his wife.
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