Waffle House sex tape shown to public for first time
Defense in sex tape trial fires at Waffle House chairman’s credibility
“There’s no way to know who blinked, or why,” said Atlanta attorney Esther Panitch, who was in the courtroom when the deal was announced.
Mye Brindle during the State v. Mye Brindle, David Cohen and John Butters trial at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (REANN HUBER/REANN.HUBER@AJC.COM)
It’s not unusual for parties to settle right before a trial, or during it. Panitch said she can’t ever recall one being reached in between opening statements.
Rogers’ lawyer Robert Ingram had offered a methodical narrative detailing what he maintained was a consensual relationship. It turned sexual in 2003, a year after Brindle was hired to work at Rogers’ home, and continued, on and off, for nine years.
“Ms. Brindle never objected to any sexual activity,” Ingram said. “She admits when she said no Joe honored it every time.”
During that time, Rogers remarried. His wife, Fran Rogers, was in the courtroom Tuesday offering her support.
Waffle House chairman Joe Rogers Jr. (right), and his wife, Fran, react to the verdicts in Fulton County Superior Court on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Jurors decided that a sex video involving Rogers was not recorded illegally and acquitted all three defendants. (Bob Andres email@example.com)
The couple shared a hug and kiss after court was adjourned. Brindle showed little emotion as she left the courtroom, surrounded by her attorneys.
Her motives remain in question. Was she driven by jealously and greed, as Ingram alleged Tuesday? Or was she a victim of workplace harassment, a woman with few options backed into a corner by a seasoned predator?
Last year, while being tried, along with her former lawyers for unlawful surveillance in Fulton County, Brindle’s defense team called on the ex-husband of another former live-in housekeeper, Dawn White. Jeffrey White testified that his then-wife told him about an incident in which Rogers allegedly “put his hands on her, pulled her shirt up and put his hand up her back.”
Rogers denied accusations he touched Dawn White inappropriately. Brindle, along with her former counsel, David Cohen and John Butters, were acquitted. The attorneys had advised Brindle to secretly videotape herself engaging sexually with Rogers.
The tape, filmed in Rogers’ home without his knowledge, was shown to jurors in the 2018 trial. And it would’ve been shown again had a settlement not been reached.
Rogers grew emotional when questioned about the tape last year. Soon after it was recorded, the corporate executive said he received a letter encouraging him to pay Brindle a $12 million settlement to avoid media exposure and criminal charges stemming from the sexual harassment allegations she was prepared to make.