A flight attendant suing the wife of megachurch evangelist Joel Osteen told a jury Tuesday she was simply doing her job when she was attacked without provocation. Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown testified that Victoria Osteen approached her and was upset and angry before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.
In her lawsuit, Brown accuses Victoria Osteen of verbally and physically abusing her and another flight attendant when a spill on the arm rest of the woman's first-class seat was not quickly cleaned up.
"I asked her to calm down. When she came to me she was very upset. She was shaking (her sunglasses) in my face," Brown testified. "I asked her, 'What could I do for you?' I did everything I thought I could do in that situation."
Brown testified that Victoria Osteen threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast. Brown said even after that, she remained courteous and tried to help the passenger.
Not going to 'let this lady in the cockpit'
"I looked in her eyes and realized she was looking at the cockpit. I positioned myself in front of the cockpit," Brown said. "I still was trying to understand what was going on because it happened so quick. My main concern was I wasn't going to let this lady in the cockpit."
Brown is seeking punitive damages amounting to 10 percent of Victoria Osteen's net worth. She also wants an apology and compensation for counseling expenses.
Both Victoria Osteen and Joel Osteen, who was on the same flight, testified last week that no attack took place.
The couple are co-pastors of Houston's Lakewood Church, a converted basketball arena that draws about 42,000 people each week for services. Joel Osteen's weekly television address is broadcast in the U.S. and internationally and his books are sold around the globe.
Before Brown testified on Tuesday, her attorney, Reginald McKamie, briefly recalled Joel Osteen to the witness stand and asked him if his family received any special treatment during check-in and at security from a church volunteer who works for Continental Airlines.
Osteen says no special treatment
Joel Osteen said he and his family stood in line like everyone else and that the Continental employee was just "being a friend there to meet me."
Brown testified she suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident and that her faith has been affected.
"I didn't want to lose my job because I felt I had to take a stand," she testified. "I felt I was no longer going to allow people to get away with bad behavior. I was very nervous about my job situation."
The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member.
The Osteens said they did not want to pay the fine but thought it would be the best way to put the incident behind them even though they felt they did nothing wrong.