MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - Prosecutors began presenting evidence on Wednesday in the trial against Kristy Brooks, a Union County mom who went into hiding with her daughter in December 2015.
Brooks was arrested in January 2017 on a felony warrant for child abduction. That charge was dismissed and she was later indicted on one count of felony obstruction of justice, for which she is now on trial.
Prosecutors allege Brooks obstructed justice when she signed an affidavit pledging to follow court orders in a custody case between her and her child’s father, Michael Rape.
Specifically, prosecutors claim Brooks broke the law when she signed the affidavit in order to get out of jail--where she was being held on civil contempt--and then went into hiding less than two weeks later.
On Wednesday, jurors heard from Rape, the father of Brooks’ daughter.
Rape said Brooks frequently violated the custody order in the case for nearly a year before she was sent to jail on the civil contempt.
He also testified that Brooks told a judge at a hearing in early December 2015 she had no intention of following a custody order requiring she share custody of her daughter with him.
Also on Wednesday, prosecutors agreed to not call to the witness stand an attorney who represented Brooks in her civil contempt case.
Prosecutors told a judge they planned to call the attorney to testify to the fact that he saw Brooks sign the affidavit but a judge ruled that would be a violation of the attorney-client privilege, which requires lawyers to keep their communication with their clients secret.
“We as the criminal justice system have to be very careful about encroaching on the attorney-client privilege,” Judge Kevin Bridges, who is presiding over the case, told prosecutors of their plan to call Brooks’ attorney.
“To tug at that string risks unraveling a thread of the criminal justice system,” he continued.
Ultimately, prosecutors agreed to not call Brooks’ former defense lawyer and Bridges said he would not have allowed them to, anyways.
Instead of having her former attorney testify as to whether Brooks did, in fact, sign the affidavit, an assistant district attorney had Rape testify as to whether the signature on the affidavit looked like Brooks'. He said it did.
In cross examination from Brooks’ attorney, John Snyder, Rape said he received a copy of the document from his attorney after she signed it and didn’t witness her verify the document.
Court adjourned for the day with prosecutors beginning the questioning of Detective Corey Burrows, who investigated the case for the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
WBTV obtained dozens of Burrows’ texts to and from a US Marshal who helped locate Brooks and arrest her. You can read them here.