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3 passengers back Osteen, say they saw no assault
Osteen s Wife Lawsu 5260513
Lakewood Church co-pastor Victoria Osteen and her husband, Joel Osteen listen to proceedings in the 113th district court, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 in the Harris County Civil Courthouse in the lawsuit of Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown accusing Victoria Osteen of assault continues, in Houston. - photo by AP Photo/ Steve Ueckert , Houston Chronicle
    HOUSTON — Three airline passengers testified Wednesday they never saw or heard any indication that the wife of megachurch evangelist Joel Osteen assaulted a flight attendant in 2005.
    Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown claims in her lawsuit that Victoria Osteen yelled at her, threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her when a spill on the armrest of her first-class seat wasn’t quickly cleaned up. Brown claims she suffered physical and psychological injuries.
    However, three first-class passengers on the plane testified Wednesday that they never saw or heard anything to indicate that Victoria Osteen assaulted Brown before the start of the flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.
    ‘‘There wasn’t anything that occurred that she could be suing over,’’ said Laura Knoppe, who was sitting in the first row of first-class seats, closest to where Brown said the attack took place.
    Knoppe, who was called by Victoria Osteen’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said she never heard Osteen yelling or screaming.
    Another passenger, Barbara Shedden, who had been called by Brown’s attorney, described the interaction between Brown and Victoria Osteen as ‘‘just a power of the wills. It was very authoritative on both parts.’’
    Shedden said Victoria Osteen was out of line by standing in the aisle while she waited for the spill to be cleaned up, but testified she doubted an attack took place.
    A third passenger, James Steele, said he never heard any yelling or sounds of a physical altercation.
    Earlier Wednesday, Brown’s attorney, Reginald McKamie, rested his case.
    Brown is asking for an apology and 10 percent of Victoria Osteen’s net worth. Osteen’s lawyers would not discuss her finances, so it was unclear how much 10 percent would be.
    The Osteens paid a $3,000 fine the Federal Aviation Administration levied against Victoria Osteen for interfering with a crew member but testified they did that to put the incident behind them.
    They are co-pastors of Houston’s Lakewood Church, which draws about 42,000 people each week. His weekly television address is broadcast internationally and his books are sold around the globe.

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