Trial of Tea Party Hero Kenneth Gladney Could Boil Down to Best Actor

Jul 12, 2011 at 10:03 am
Gladney in a wheelchair two days after the alleged assault.
Gladney in a wheelchair two days after the alleged assault.
Updated, Wednesday, July 13: Defendants Elston McGowan and Perry Molens were found not guilty.

Original post follows...

Nearly two years after the fact, a trial is finally underway regarding a dust-up that occurred following a health-care forum in south St. Louis County.

As you'll recall, Kenneth Gladney was handing out Tea Party swag outside a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Russ Carnahan when he was allegedly attacked by "union thugs" Elston McCowan and Perry Molens. During the first day of the trial Monday, prosecutors charging McCowan and Molens with misdemeanor assault called on Gladney and several witnesses to the scuffle (viewable here).

Blogger Adam Shriver with St. Louis Activist Hub has a detailed account of yesterday's testimony and notes that during cross examination the attorney for McCowan and Molens grilled Gladney on a tidbit first exposed by Daily RFT: that Gladney was at the health-care forum to sell Tea Party mementos, not give them out for free as suggested in earlier account. The defense also hammered Gladney on why he was seen walking around virtually unscathed in the immediate aftermath of the fight only to show up in a wheelchair two days later at a Tea Party rally.

The second witness, Sandra Himes, told jurors that she heard McGowan call Gladney the n-word, which seems a bit unusual seeing how both McCowan and Gladney are both black.

And while Shriver saw the preponderance of the testimony as damaging for Gladney, right-wing blogger Jim Hoft painted an entirely different picture of yesterday's trial. He writes on his Gateway Pundit that the the SEIU union packed the courtroom with "thugs" aimed at further intimidating Gladney.

In the end, the winner of the trial may come down to the best actor. Gladney appeared in court yesterday in a neck brace, telling attorneys that he'd recently (and conveniently) undergone surgery on his back for an unrelated matter. Molens, meanwhile, appeared in court looking like a "greaser" from The Outsiders. Kevin Killeen at KMOX tweeted yesterday that Molens sported a black shirt, no tie and duck tail hair.