Disputed testimony ahead in Brown trial
NAHA, Okinawa — A policewoman who investigated sexual assault allegations filed by a Camp Courtney barmaid in November 2002 is expected to take the stand Tuesday when the trial of Marine Maj. Michael Brown resumes in Naha District Court.
The officer is being called to testify over the strong objection of prosecutor Tsuyoshi Satake, who at a hearing earlier this month attempted to offer recordings from the officer’s cellular phone as evidence that Brown’s accuser, Victoria Nakamine, 40, had established a bond with the policewoman in the months after the incident that led to the charges.
When Nakamine testified in May, she claimed Okinawa police and prosecutors coerced her into filing charges against Brown, accusing him of trying to rape her while parked along a dark road near the base, as she was giving him a ride from the Camp Courtney Officer’s Club.
She testified she never had wanted to punish Brown. She told the court he tried to fondle her inside her car but immediately stopped when she objected.
The prosecutor said the officer’s cell phone contains friendly messages from Nakamine at the time the case was being considered for indictment.
Brown, 40, a 19-year Marine veteran assigned to the command element of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force on Camp Courtney, was indicted Dec. 19, 2002. He was accused of attempted rape and destroying Nakamine’s cellular phone when she threatened to call police.
During a Jan. 16 hearing, Brown’s chief defense counsel, Toshimitsu Takaesu, objected to introducing the officer’s phone messages. He argued they could have been edited to fit the prosecution’s contention that Nakamine changed her story only after some $13,000 was deposited into her bank account the day before she testified.
The source of the money never has been revealed. Takaesu has said it did not come from Brown.
Over the prosecutor’s objection, Chief Judge Nobuyuki Yokota said Brown’s attorney had the right to cross-examine the officer about the phone messages; he ordered the prosecutor to have her appear at Tuesday’s session.