Spousal Abuse Trial of Jim Brown Opens


Football legend Jim Brown, facing charges of spousal abuse, has attacked his 25-year-old wife on at least two occasions and threatened to kill her, a prosecutor told a Hollywood Municipal Court jury Friday.

Deputy City Atty. Grace Kim Lee said in her opening statement that Monique Brown told police her marriage had a history of violence.

Brown, 63, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is facing misdemeanor charges of making terrorist threats and smashing the window of his wife’s car during a June 15 argument at their Hollywood Hills home.


A tearful Monique Brown ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911. Her husband was arrested and released on $50,000 bail.

In the weeks since, Monique has insisted that her husband never threatened her and that she called police just to get his attention, because she thought he was having an affair.

But Lee told the jury not to be dissuaded by the changed story and the “public image of solidarity” presented by the Browns. The night of the incident, Lee said, Monique Brown told police that her husband kept a gun in the house, and that she wanted to get her belongings and leave. Brown had told her, “I’m going to kill you by snapping your neck,” the prosecutor said.

On previous occasions, Monique told police, her husband had choked her and given her a black eye, Lee said.

As Lee spoke, Brown leaned back in his chair. During a break, he said, “Lies, lies, lies.”

Brown’s attorney, William T. Graysen, said the incident began when Monique stood at her husband’s bedroom door, as he lay in bed grieving for a friend who had died, and harangued him because she thought he was having an affair.

“She’ll tell you she was trying to get some reaction,” he said. “He was going on a business trip later that night, and she didn’t want him to go.”


Graysen said Monique told her husband she was about to leave him. He threatened to break her car windows, Graysen said, and she invited him to go ahead, saying he would pay for the damage.

“She wanted to make him feel as hurt and humiliated as she did, because he was having an affair, she thought,” Graysen said.

Outside the courtroom, Monique said there was “absolutely no” history of violence in her marriage.

The Browns have appeared several times on national and local television news programs since their domestic run-in to denounce City Atty. James K. Hahn and Los Angeles police for pursuing the case over their objections. Los Angeles prosecutors now routinely follow through with domestic abuse cases even when the victim withdraws the allegations.

In 1986, Brown was arrested on suspicion of felony battery after a woman reported that he had beaten her. The case was not pursued after the woman refused to cooperate.

In 1971, misdemeanor charges of battery and disturbing the peace were filed against Brown, but were dropped after the two women who made the allegations failed to testify at his trial.


Brown also was arrested in 1968 on suspicion of assault with intent to murder when his girlfriend was found semiconscious outside his apartment. She said she had fallen, and the charge was dropped.

Brown, a former Cleveland Browns and Syracuse University star, now runs an organization out of his home called Amer-I-Can, aimed at aiding inner-city gang members.

He faces up to 18 months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted, prosecutors said.