T. BATES, ATTORNEY: Thank you, your Honor, for allowing me to address the charges against my client, Ms. Elizabeth Parker. As you are aware, Ms. Parker is charged with inciting a riot at the Georgetown Hyatt Regency on
I would first like to explain the circumstances that led to the alleged melee in question. On the evening of the 10th, the local chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America held their monthly meeting in Ballroom A of the Hyatt. As fate would have it, the local chapter of the Charlotte Brontë Society of
The meetings ended around , after which participants from both meetings adjourned to the bar/lounge area and subsequently learned of the other meeting. It was soon after this discovery, that a Ms. Harriet Towerman, a member from the Brontë Society, overheard Ms. Parker comment to her great aunt, Ms. Winifred Reynolds, that Mr. Rochester was “nothing more than a bully in a morning coat.” Ms. Towerman, angered by this comment, loudly proclaimed that Mr. Darcy was “an arrogant fop who existed only to glower and annoy.”
Ms. Reynolds, who is being tried separately here today, responded by suggesting that Ms. Brontë, as well as her sisters, would have all benefited from a good dose of anti-depressants and stated that any man who locked his mentally ill wife in the attic was a, and I quote, “manipulative sociopathic wanker.”
MS. REYNOLDS: Damn skippy he is.
T. BATES: Yes, your Honor. Dan Dover, the Hyatt bartender on duty that night, has testified that after Ms. Towerman called Darcy a fop, someone in the bar yelled out that Mr. Rochester was “a cruel, conniving, brooding, selfish bastard” to which Ms. Parker added, “and those are his good points.” Someone else then shouted out that Mr. Darcy was an “emotionally repressed, sanctimonious pansy.”
It was around this time, according to Mr. Dover, that the first drink (a whiskey on the rocks) was thrown. While no one has admitted to throwing it, I think it is important to note that most of the Austen members are wine drinkers. The Brontë members tend to favor hard liquor. In any case, Mr. Dover did acknowledge that one benefit of the altercation that night was an increase in drink sales, with revenue up almost sixty-seven percent from previous nights.
The groups then squared off against one another. I would like to point out that (at first) the Austen Society members refrained from throwing actual items, instead limiting themselves to tossing witty bon mots. The Brontë Society members were more passionate in demonstrating their anger. Both sides agree it was the Brontë faction that threw the first chair.
According to estimates from the Hyatt, the damages total in excess of $2,000.
However, I submit to you, your Honor, that it is unfair to hold my client solely responsible for the disturbance that night. While she admits to making disparaging comments about Mr. Rochester, she was not alone, and the other side was hardly innocent of nefarious activity. I would like to add that she apologized for using her lipstick to write (sound of muffled cough/laugh) “