I finally had the chance to see the much talked about segment of the most recent episode of Monday Night Raw, featuring Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella. It was an incredible performance by both women. It is rare to see two women close out an episode of any professional program and these two made the most of it. In terms of entertainment, it was an A+ segment. Alas, it was a horrible lesson in the law.
For those who do not know, the angle really got started last week when Stephanie McMahon, one of the primary owners of the WWE, slapped the recently “fired” Brie Bella, who was attending the show as a ticket paying fan. Later in the show, two police officers came ringside and arrested Stephanie McMahon for battery upon Brie Bella. For the sake of keeping it simple we will skip over why Stephanie’s battery merited an arrest when illegal batteries take place every week in every town on Raw. Instead, we will just mention that the WWE princess was carted off in handcuffs.
In the most recent Raw, McMahon was lamenting to her husband, WWE Executive Vice-President,Triple H, about her humiliating arrest and how she had to rectify the social consequences. To that end, in the final segment she called out the Bella twin in order to have Brie drop the charges.
LEGAL PROBLEM #1
Despite what we see in television and movies, private citizens do not drop charges because they never really hold them. The power to prosecute belongs to the prosecuting government agency. In other words, though Brie could beg and plead for a dismissal, she has no real authority over what charges McMahon could be charged with. And considering that millions of people saw the slap, there was more than enough evidence to prosecute the case without Brie’s cooperation. In short, McMahon’s efforts to drop the charges are for naught.
As the segment continued, McMahon then made the mistake no one in a hole should ever make. She kept digging.
LEGAL PROBLEM #2
Stephanie McMahon offered numerous inducements for Brie Bella to drop the charges. She offered better treatment for Brie’s twin sister, Nikki, who is still employed by WWE and was on the receiving end of hostile work conditions ordered by McMahon. She offered a raise for Nikki. Brie agreed to those terms as well as getting her old job back. If you are wondering why this would be a problem, it is pretty simple. McMahon is attempting to bribe a witness. And these attempts create a legal problem for both McMahon AND Bella.
For example, here in California, PC 138 (a)-(b) states:
138. (a) Every person who gives or offers or promises to give to any witness or person about to be called as a witness, any bribe upon any understanding or agreement that the person shall not attend upon any trial or other judicial proceeding, or every person who attempts by means of any offer of a bribe to dissuade any person from attending upon any trial or other judicial proceeding, is guilty of a felony. (b) Every person who is a witness, or is about to be called as such, who receives, or offers to receive, any bribe, upon any understanding that his or her testimony shall be influenced thereby, or that he or she will absent himself or herself from the trial or proceeding upon which his or her testimony is required, is guilty of a felony.
In other words, McMahon is guilty of offering to bribe a witness and Brie’s guilt would stem from each offer she accepted. This means that Stephanie has gone from being embarrassed over a simple misdemeanor to committing numerous felonies. She should have spoken to Jerry McDevitt before doing any of this. And it gets worse from there.
LEGAL PROBLEM #3
Brie Bella told the Billion Dollar Princess that she agreed to the terms, but wanted one more thing: a match at Summerslam against Stephanie herself. While Stephanie tearfully declined, she eventually accepted the terms. And then SLAPPED Brie Bella.
Feel free to read that again. After successfully getting Brie Bella to agree to an illegal effort to drop charges for battery, Stephanie commits ANOTHER battery. In front of thousands in attendance and the millions (AND MILLIONS) watching at home. In many states, this would be enough to revoke McMahon’s bail or personal recognizance and keep her locked up until trial. Not the wisest of moves.
The WWE has a warning before all of their programming that what you see on TV should not be tried at home. The disclaimer and warning refer to the wrestling moves and stunts, but the same warnings apply for their presentation of the law.
Horrible on the law, but a great reason to order Summerslam.