The final sentence in a handwritten letter Lucy DeCoutere was asked to read it aloud in court evoked gasps from those watching.
"I love your hands. Lucy."
DeCoutere, a complainant in Jian Ghomeshi's sex assault trial, was quoting an old so-called "love letter" she'd sent the formerCBC host after he allegedly choked and slapped her in July 2003. Her accusations have resulted in one of four charges for which he's currently being tried.
In cross-examination that began yesterday and carried over into most of Friday, Ghomeshi's attorney Marie Henein repeatedly asked DeCoutere if she had been absolutely truthful with the court about all of her correspondences with Ghomeshi. She was particularly interested in those that happened after the alleged assault, which DeCoutere said took place at Ghomeshi's home in early July 2003.
Earlier this week, DeCoutere's lawyer contacted Crown counsel Michael Callaghan to make additional disclosures about DeCoutere's correspondences with Ghomeshi—things she hadn't initially told police when she reported the alleged attack. They mostly consisted of emails, which Henein went through one by one in court Friday.
The emails, many of which DeCoutere said she'd forgotten writing (they were from an old account she says she no longer has access to) indicated that DeCoutere had, on several occasions when she knew she and Ghomeshi would be in the same place, suggested they meet up.
Prior to the Gemini Awards in October 2003, she wrote, "If I do end up coming up to Tdot, do u wanna grab lunch?" In others, DeCoutere told Ghomeshi what was going on in her life and asked about career advice.
"[You] were sharing your day and what's going on with the man you say sexually assaulted you, right," Henein asked; she repeated some variation of that question throughout the cross.
Prior to attending the same TV festival in Banff in June 2004, the event they'd met at a year prior, DeCoutere said, "How busy are you going to be in Banff? I wanna play with you."
DeCoutere told the court she was trying to be friendly with Ghomeshi to "normalize" the situation and, knowing that she'd run into him anyway, she wanted it to be on her terms.
"The way he treated me when he choked me was so extraordinary... I would look for ways to humanize him," she said, noting the sexual innuendos she sometimes made, things like "chance encounter in the broom closet?", and attaching a pic of her simulating a blowjob with a bottle, were all jokes, and that she had no romantic feelings toward him.
But Henein challenged her on that point, rehashing in court an email DeCoutere had sent Ghomeshi the day after the alleged choking and slapping took place.
"You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to fuck your brains out tonight," it said.
"What happened was no sexual assault...The next day after thinking about it, you wanted to fuck his brains out," said Henein, to which DeCoutere responded, "Women can be assaulted by someone and still have positive feelings for them afterward."
Then Henein presented DeCoutere with the "love letter."
"You were too sparkling," it reads in describing the night the pair met in Banff, "when it came down to it, I just couldn't talk to you."
Of their weekend in July, including the night the alleged assault took place and subsequent meals, parties and a barbecue, she wrote, "I loved spending time with you this weekend, you are hilarious... I am sad we didn't spend the night together."
Henein then asked DeCoutere to read the final line: "I love your hands. Lucy."
Henein accused DeCoutere of deliberately omitting these details from her testimony, but DeCoutere said she didn't remember these emails or the love letter, which she said she hadn't laid eyes on in years.
At one point, Henein asked, "It is possible Miss DeCoutere, that you seem to forget the stuff that shows you're lying?"
The Crown briefly re-directed DeCoutere after her cross-examination, asking if there was any more context to the letter she wanted to share. She said that it explained her initial attraction to Ghomeshi, which was "legitimate" and commented that it seemed apologetic in tone, as if she were trying to placate him. Her instinct, she said, is to try to normalize traumatic situations.
"The last line of it is me pointing love to the very thing that he used to hurt me," she told the court, noting that it wasn't meant to signal that she liked being choked. "The things you used to hurt me, I could even love those, cause you're never gonna do it again."
Callaghan then told the judge he'd received a "new disclosure" from a third witness Friday morning and asked to adjourn until Monday.
He also said some witnesses may not be "legally appropriate" to call to the stand.
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