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Day 3 of Jessie Haynes' trial over, closing arguments begin Thur - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Day 3 of Jessie Haynes' trial over, closing arguments begin Thursday morning

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The trial of Beaumont Independent School District spokesperson Jessie Haynes is in its third day. BISD employees, pastors, BISD board Watch members and BISD electrician Calvin Walker are among those attending the trial.

Haynes is accused of obstructing a public passageway. The charge is a Class B misdemeanor. The case against Haynes stems from an August 1, 2013 incident that was caught on district surveillance video. The incident sparked a complaint filed by Haynes against a school board member and a reporter, and charges filed against Haynes.  The prosecution completed presenting its case Tuesday. 

The court took a recess shortly after events started Wednesday so that attorneys could decide which documents would be presented to the jury.   When proceedings continued, Defense Attorney Thomas Swanson called as the first witness BISD attorney Melody Chappell. 

Melody Chappell testimony

Chappell testified that prior to the incident, reporter Jerry Jordan made an inappropriate comment, comparing her profession to prostitution.  She said she only agreed to do an interview with two television stations.

"I will not do an interview with Jerry Jordan," she said.

Chappell also testified that BISD Trustee Mike Neil had no authority to confront Haynes or enter the room where she (Chappell) was speaking to reporters from the television stations.  She argued with the prosecutor about whether the BISD administration building was open to the public on the evening of Aug.1.  The state says it was.  Chappell said it was not open to the public.

The defense showed video of Jerry Jordan being escorted out of a meeting before the incident.

Chappell was asked about Haynes' 2-year contract renewal with the district.  Chappell said it could have been debated in executive session, but it wasn't.  She said Haynes' paid assault leave was granted by the state.  She said it is policy for the district to investigate once this is done.  She also said she would not advise the school district to seek repayment of assault leave funds Haynes received because payment is part of district policy.

Chappell testified that she did not know that the BISD police officer was asked to change his report.

The defense has rested in the case.  Court is in recess while the state decides if it wishes to call witnesses for rebuttal.

Witness list for the defense

The defense had six names on its witness list, but chose to only call Melody Chappell to the stand. 

The list included Dr. Timothy Chargois, Dr. Shirley Bonton, Melody Chappell, Sgt. Aqua Delco, Ms. Gwen Ambres and Ms. Sybil Comeaux.

12News asked defense attorney Thomas Swanson why only one of the people on the witness list was called.  Mr. Swanson had no comment.

If convicted, Haynes faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

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