His Defence? ‘You Can’t Rape a Porn Star’, MMA Fighter, War Machine

THE charges against him are heinous but disgraced MMA fighter War Machine’s antics in court coupled with the sickening defence offered by his legal team give the impression he’s not taking any of it seriously.

Prosecutors have alleged War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — brutally raped and bashed his ex-girlfriend, former adult film actor Christine Mackinday, 23, and choked and punched her friend Corey Thomas.

The allegations, dating back to May 2013 and culminating in a near-fatal attack in August last year, amount to 34 charges, including five counts of sexual assault and two of attempted murder. The world saw the results of his alleged frenzy of violence in photographs Ms Mackinday — better known as Christy Mack — posted to social media from her hospital bed.

But defence lawyer Brandon Sua attempted to undermine those charges as his trial opened this week by arguing Ms Mackinday’s line of work indicated consent and had instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm”.

Mr Sua said the pair had met while Ms Mackinday was filming a pornographic movie and engaged in rough sex throughout their relationship. He told the Clark County District Court she had accused Koppenhaver of sexual assault in the past but had dropped charges rather than face a trial.

The defence ploy sparked a lengthy legal debate during which prosecutors argued that rape shield laws should limit the ability of defendants to introduce evidence of victims’ sexual history and prohibit the defence from revealing details of Ms Mackinday’s movies to a jury, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“Because she consented to those acts through her course of employment does not mean the defendant is then entitled to think he can do that to her,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jaqueline Bluth said. “You can’t make that leap.”

War Machine enters the courtroom at Clark County District Court for his trial, which opened this weekSource:Twitter
War Machine enters the courtroom at Clark County District Court for his trial, which opened this weekSource:Twitter
Ms Mackinday recovers in hospitalSource:Instagram
Ms Mackinday recovers in hospitalSource:Instagram
These photographs of Ms Mackinday’s injuries, posted to her Instagram account, shocked the world
These photographs of Ms Mackinday’s injuries, posted to her Instagram account, shocked the world

District Judge Elissa Cadish questioned whether pornography established consent.

“I don’t see how any of those activities that she did in adult movies would ever show her consent to the acts with the defendant that he’s charged with,” she said. “I’m not seeing that connection.”

However, the judge did ask Mr Sua to submit a written motion detailing the sexual history between Koppenhaver and Ms Mackinday.

While this legal exchange was underway — at the point where Mr Sua raised Ms Mackinday’s past and unpursued rape allegations against his client — Ms Bluth interrupted to alert the court of inappropriate behaviour by War Machine.

“Judge, for the record, Mr Koppenhaver just blew a kiss at me,” she said, according to the Review-Journal.

Mr Sua said he did not see it.

“I’m not going to make up that he blew a kiss at me, which I find offensive,” Ms Bluth retorted.

Judge Cadish then turned to address Koppenhaver, seated in the jury box shackled and dressed in an orange jumpsuit.

“Mr Koppenhaver, stop. You are not to make any gestures of any kind toward counsel. Don’t go there,” the judge said.

Koppenhaver smiled and replied. “Yes, ma’am.”

Ms Mackinday has since had this ‘Property of War Machine’ tattoo removed from her shoulder
Ms Mackinday has since had this ‘Property of War Machine’ tattoo removed from her shoulder
War Machine and Christy Mack were not as happy as they looked in Instagram photos like thisSource:Instagram
War Machine and Christy Mack were not as happy as they looked in Instagram photos like thisSource:Instagram

A police report tendered to court described the full horror of Ms Mackinday’s injuries and as well those allegedly inflicted on her friend Corey Thomas, who was present during the alleged August 8 incident.

They stated Koppenhaver attacked Ms Mackinday and Mr Thomas in her home near the Las Vegas National Golf Club.

Koppenhaver burst into the home and accused Ms Mackinday of cheating on him before assaulting Ms Thomas, the report said.

Police allege Koppenhaver choked and punched Mr Thomas for nearly 10 minutes before telling him to leave and warning him not to call police.

The court heard Ms Mackinday dialled “911” while Mr Thomas was being attacked and then hid the mobile phone. Koppenhaver allegedly punched her as they went into a bathroom before he forced her to take a shower.

Ms Mackinday sustained a “blowout” fracture to her left eye and numerous broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places.

Mr Sua said text messages from Koppenhaver’s phone would call into question the validity of Ms Mackinday’s statements.

He said text messages from the night of the alleged attack showed “ample evidence of (Ms Mackinday) enticing Mr Koppenhaver to come over that evening, ample evidence of her consenting to him being there”.

Prosecutors said they had no idea that Koppenhaver had kept the phone. The ex-Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter was arrested in California after going on the run for a week after the attack.

Judge Cadish ordered Mr Sua to turn the phone over to prosecutors by next week after Ms Bluth said she needed to review all of the messages.

The defendant has legally changed his name to War Machine but was referred to as “Mr Koppenhaver” in court.

Jonathan Koppenhaver, aka War Machine, in his mugshot after his August 15 arrest. Picture: Simi Valley Police DepartmentSource:Supplied
Jonathan Koppenhaver, aka War Machine, in his mugshot after his August 15 arrest. Picture: Simi Valley Police DepartmentSource:Supplied
Ms Mackinday (right) with a friend.Source:Instagram
Ms Mackinday (right) with a friend.Source:Instagram

Today is White Ribbon Day in Australia, an event raising awareness of domestic violence.

Anyone at risk can call the following numbers for help:

(Australia)

* 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732): 24 hour, National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line for any Australian (male or female) who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

* Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State (24 hours) 131 114

* Telephone counselling for children and young people. Freecall: 1800 551 800.

* Australian Childhood Foundation: Counselling for children and young people affected by abuse 1800 176 453 www.childhood.org.au orwww.stopchildabuse.com.au

* Relationships Australia — Support groups and counselling on relationships, and for abusive and abused partners. 1300 364 277 www.relationships.com.au

* ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse) A service to adult survivors, their friends and family and the health care professionals who support them. Support line: 1300 657 380 www.asca.org.au

* The Department of Community Services Domestic Violence Line is the primary information service for people experiencing domestic violence in NSW. The DV line is free and staffed 24 hours, seven days a week. Ph. 1800 65 64 63

Story by Marnie O’Neill news.com.au

Christina Vixx

I was born and raised in Toronto Canada. I love writing, poetry and music. I'm a contributor for SocialMediaMorning. Make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

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