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First He, Then Me -- Henrico County Court (Part 3)

(Part 1) (Part 2)

The uniformed fellow manning the metal detector at the Henrico County Courthouse slipped part of my evidence -- a pretty green cellular -- into a tiny manila envelope and sealed it with sticker tape before placing it back in my hand and waving me on.

Scanning for my name, my belly filled with imaginary and, I should add, rambunctious, butterflies, I perused the dockets at each of the thresholds leading to the four available courtrooms. The purple, silver, gray and black, high heels on my feet clicked rhythmically as I made my way across the long stretch of floor. Last door. Figures! There it was, adjacent to the person’s name who was responsible for my being there: Gattuso Jr., Anthony.

I pointed it out to the friend slash witness who’d come with me. I noticed the time “9 AM” scrawled in red pen above the respective civil case. Instantly my eyes swelled in panic. According to the paperwork I’d been served, the hearing was scheduled for 9:30. My thoughts reflected a sudden overwhelming feeling of anxiety. Oh my God! What if I’m late? What if it already happened, and because I wasn’t here he won by default? Can I appeal? This bites.

Upon entering the courtroom, my trepidation only worsened. I didn’t spot my opponent, Tony, anywhere amid the smattering of people inside. Earlier in the week I’d hypothesized he, knowing how ridiculous this was, would perhaps not even attend but now, considering the possibility what we were present for had already transpired, not seeing him intensified my worry.

As my companion joined the various folks seated on the solid pews, I approached one of the lawmen up front and touched him on the arm to quietly get his attention. I conveyed my problem to him. I inhaled a sigh of assuagement when he returned from checking with the clerk and informed me it was indeed set for the time I’d been given. Thanking him, I sat in the open expanse next to my comrade.

Seconds later, the same bailiff approached me and queried whether I had met with a victim/witness advocate yet. I smiled and shook my head negatively, guessing what he supposed. Leaning towards my friend, I whispered “Isn’t it funny how they assume because I’m female I’m the ‘victim’?”

Catching bits of conversation among the court employees, I gathered which woman was a victim/witness advocate and overheard her say something to the gist that she would bring in the complainant. That must mean he’s here. Hahaha… I can’t believe it!

In the meantime, the judge, a plain yet attractive African-American lady, excused herself from her bench.

Whenever I’m in court -- either as a defendant or casual observer -- like most, if I hear the door behind me gap I pivot around to check out the incomer. During one of these instances on this day, I glimpsed Tony. Dang, he is so handsome in business attire. I told the gal pal who’d gone with me that I’d never seen Tony in head-to-toe official garb before. She replied “Well you’ve seen him in his birthday suit; now you’ve seen him in a regular suit.”

Shortly thereafter, the judge exited from her chambers, settled in her chair, and called our names. This is it.

Standing in front of her Honor, from left to right: I, the person I’d identified as a victim/witness advocate, Tony, and another man who was apparently also a victim/witness advocate. Sheesh. How many of these freakin’ people does he need?!

In the side-telling, Tony went first.

Much like VSP Trooper Brandon Long had when he and I battled out my “improper stopping on highway” traffic ticket in the Bedford Court, Tony’s words were exceedingly deceptive and designed to manipulate in his favor.

Reading from a typed leaf, Mr. Gattuso, naturally, kicked things off by introducing himself as a Special Agent with the Virginia State Police. Hey judge, I’m a cop. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Furthermore, he described his work in the Surveillance Unit as “covert.” Hell, why not just claim to be an undercover?

Over the last year and a half, Tony had always called my site by its name “I heart jade.” Eight seconds in a courtroom and he was calling it “I hate jade.” He afforded the judge a printout of my blog banner, encouraging her to take note of its capitalization. She displayed the document to me. I merely nodded, not bothering to rectify the title-misrepresentation. Why get hung up on extraneous details?

Tony didn’t stop there as a spin doctor. He declared my blog “could be construed as anti-Law-Enforcement.” Oh? Then how come you, Mr. Law Enforcement member, were supplying me with content for an anti-Law-Enforcement site? I remained mute about that assertion as well.

He disclosed I had “been arrested and prosecuted for stalking.” Of course he neglected to mention that not only had I not been convicted, but that he had assisted me with the charge.

He went on to report I had posted a photograph of his house on I HeArTE JADE, and labels with his name appeared on said blog too. He pretended the activity was illegal. What the…? He knows I haven’t committed a crime! The judge interrupted his speech to tell him that was irrelevant to the matter at hand and that the allegation was beyond her scope of authority. Hmm… that was… interesting… of her to concede.

Tony extended a duplicate of the snapshot I’d published of his house, which the judge accepted. The picture was huge, spanning the full length of the 8x11; I’m not sure the original version was included in toto. By printing it like that, it failed to even reveal where it came from. That seriously makes no sense.

Then came my chance to defend myself.

(Part 4)