A housekeeper and two lawyers were acquitted Wednesday on charges that they made an illegal sex tape of Waffle House chairman Joe Rogers Jr.
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Rogers said the sexual acts with Mye Brindle were consensual, but Brindle testified that she feared losing her job if she refused his advances.
The video was filmed in Rogers' bedroom and prosecutors argued he had a right to privacy in his own home.
The tape was at the center of a six-year-long tangle of civil and criminal litigation that went all the way to the state Supreme Court last year.
David Cohen and John Butters — two attorneys Brindle hired in 2012 to assist her in bringing a civil lawsuit against Rogers — were also defendants in the case because they advised Brindle to make the video.
All three were charged with unlawful surveillance.
Following the verdict Brindle dabbed at her eyes, There were hugs at the defense table.
Prosecutors made an emergency motion on
Wednesday to halt deliberations and recharge the jury. They requested it be made clear in the jury’s instructions that Georgia’s “one-party consent” law, which allows individuals to record audio conversations without consent, does not apply to this case. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk denied the motion.
The sex tape was shown during the trial and on Tuesday afternoon the jury asked to view the tape a second time as they deliberated.
In the tape, filmed in Rogers’ home, a nude, recently-showered Rogers asks Brindle to “pop his back,” and Brindle goes into another room with the camera to retrieve towels.
After positioning the camera in that room, Brindle returns to the bathroom, where Rogers can be heard moaning minutes later. Shortly after that, Brindle retrieves the camera and the two go into Rogers' bedroom and engage in a sexual act. The remainder of the video captures a casual conversation between the two.
Rogers, chairman of the Gwinnett-based restaurant chain, testified that the encounter shown in the tape was a typical one. Brindle offered to give him massages about six months after he hired her in 2003, he said. And he paid for performing this service in addition to her regular duties.
“It never occurred to me it might be a bad idea,” he said.
The defense rested its case Tuesday afternoon following emotional testimony from Brindle.
“Joe Rogers is a filthy, despicable human being,” defense attorney Brian Steel told the jurors.
Cohen and Butters did not testify.