Please be seated. -Hello, Your Honor.
-Hello. This is the case of
Jackson v. Brennan.Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone. [audience] Good day. Ms. Jackson, you and your
mother opened your case because your childhood
sweetheart has now become your adulthood nightmare. You say, the defendant
and his meddling mother are now denying
your daughter, Makhiya. You say you need help
because your daughter
has cerebral palsy and you want the defendant
to man up, is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Brennan, you testify that you have
that fuels your doubt. You say you’re not the father,
but know who is, is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. So, Ms. Jackson, you want
the defendant to man up. -Yes, ma’am.
-[Judge Lake] Explain. I just wish he would be there
for his child and step up to the plate
with his responsibilities
pretty much and be there like he was
in the beginning when he didn’t have a doubt. What is he doing currently
for Makhiya? -Zero. Nothing.
-[audience exclaims] So, Ms. Jackson, I can see
the tears in your eyes. How does that make you feel
as a mother? I can see the pain. Can you express that
to the court? It hurts a lot actually,
knowing that somebody’s so beautiful
that took after both of us. That was made from both of us
when me and him were
thick as thieves. And everything
just got torn apart because somebody didn’t want
to be a father. Mr. Brennan, you don’t believe
you are Makhiya’s
biological father? I have doubts. -[Judge Lake] You do?
-Yes. And is the testimony
of Ms. Jackson true that, in the beginning,
you were there? [Mr. Brennan]
In the beginning… Yes, I was always there. And I actually got kicked
out of their house. That’s why I wasn’t there,
and they don’t let me see her. [audience exclaiming] I’ve asked
for a paternity test before. Oh, my God! I’ve even got messages of that,
but it’s okay. This is crazy. I’ve asked for a paternity test
more than once. Haley’s told me no. And they tell us we’ll never
see the baby again. I mean– You missed out
on all these years, and I think it’s funny.
I really do. -I tried to see her every year.
-It’s funny and pathetic. Because you can sit there
and act like, “Oh, poor victim me.” And then Kris,
“Oh, poor victim me.” But you guys could have
done a paternity test
a long time ago. -Way long time ago.
-[audience applauding] So you missed out. You did. Why should we have to fight
for a paternity test when– [Angel] You don’t
have to fight for one. [overlapping chatter] You don’t have to
fight for one. That’s what happens every time
we try to talk to ’em. -So, Ms. Jackson…
-And I’m not listening to that. When’s the last time
Mr. Brennan stop– We’re gonna get you, aren’t ya? Sorry. I’m sorry for that. When’s the last time
Mr. Brennan saw Makhiya? -Three years ago this December.
-[audience exclaims] All right,
so let’s go back a bit, because I do wanna understand
how we got here. You all were in a relationship. You were boyfriend
and girlfriend. Yes, your honor. -[Judge Lake] Sweethearts.
-Yes. -And at some point,
you find our you’re pregnant.
-[Haley] Yes. During that pregnancy,
was Mr. Brennan there? He was there throughout
the whole pregnancy. -[Judge Lake]
He was supportive.
-Oh, yes. Take me back to that time
and explain to me
what was going on then. [Haley] Okay, so I found out
I was pregnant. We started talking
and he was there. We hung out all the time.
We walked together
almost every day, whenever it came down
to getting ready
to have a child. When my water broke, I woke him up and he
immediately jumped up and took me to the hospital. During your pregnancy
or at the birth, did he ever question paternity? -He did.
-[Judge Lake] He did? -He did.
-What happened? Um, before I had got pregnant, I was with one of my exes when me and him
were on a break. And then after that,
we got back together and we were
super close, inseparable, when I lived with him
at his mother’s house. She disappeared
for three weeks, Your Honor. And then she comes back
a week later
and she’s pregnant. [audience exclaims] Ms. Jackson disappeared
for three weeks? She disappeared
for three weeks, -came back–
-That’s false information. So, was that the beginning
of your doubt, Mr. Brennan? Through our whole relationship,
I was cheated on. I kept getting
cheated on, so I… You know,
at the back of my head… And you cheated on me
all the time. [Brennan] …I’d wondered
what happened. So, you always have this doubt. [Haley] At your
mother’s house… I’m not the one
that gets pregnant. …and took pictures of it
and put in on Facebook. And showed everybody
that you were cheating on me
the whole time. I’m not the one
that got pregnant. You get pregnant, not me. Oh, that’s what happens…
It only happens to women. So, listen, I can see
that this relationship
got very messy. And that’s why we are here
to try to sort through this, because, at the end of the day, -we have beautiful
-[Haley] Beautiful little girl. …and she needs to know
who her biological father is.Ms. Winners, I want you
to finish your testimony.You know, he loved this girl
since they were kids, you know, 14-years-old. And of course,
I mean, he still…
He had loved her. This is all hard on him,
Your Honor, but yes, she disappeared
for three weeks,
she comes back couple weeks later, pregnant. And it’s like, I’ve always
had the doubts,but I don’t wanna have the
doubts because she’s beautiful.So take me to the day
Makhiya was born. -Were you at the hospital,
-Of course. -[Judge Lake] You were there?
-I picked her up, and carried her to my van,
and sped to the hospital and ran past every red light
I possibly could
to get her there. -[Judge Lake] Did you sign
the birth certificate?
-[Mr. Brennan] No. [Judge Lake]
Ms. Jackson, I do need to ask,if Mr. Brennan
was that present, and very much involved
in Makhiya’s birth
and her care, why wasn’t he allowed to sign
or be on the birth certificate? [Mr. Brennan] She was supposed
to have my last name. He did, Your Honor.
I had the whole packet, and he had permission
to sign anything because I was
under the influence
of the drugs at the time. -[Mr. Brennan] No.
-All right, and so– I’ve never seen it.
I still ain’t seen
the birth certificate. Mom, I wanna understand
when was the first time
you even found out Mr. Brennan had doubt? Last October. -[Judge Lake] Tell me
-I texted his mom and said, “Do you wanna see
little precious for Halloween?” I was gonna stop over
and let her see her. No. It wasn’t her grandkid.
And I got evidence right here. I’d like to see that evidence. [audience exclaims] So, this is a text message between you
and Ms. Winners. -Yes.
-[Judge Lake] All right. Ms. Jackson, you text…“Oh, yeah,
she’s not your blood.Okay, I will see you
in court, sweets.So you know who the daddy is?” And Ms. Winners, you respond… “Haley knows. That’s why
all these years, she did not
want a DNA test.” -And that proves I’ve asked.
-And that’s a lie. And then Ms. Winners sends
a photo,and it says,“Here’s the real daddy.
Dumb… Look at him.Look at the baby.
Wow. So stupid.” [audience exclaims] -And this is a picture
of the other man?
-[Ms. Winners] Yes. Yes, Your Honor. Which looks just like me. So, Ms. Winners,
why did you send this text? [Ms. Winners] Your Honor, um… This gentleman, he’s been
away for a while, and he kept calling me
every week… He’s friends with Johnnie. I get a phone call
after about a year
talking to him, and he goes, “Mama Kris,” he goes, “I need
to tell you something.” I said, “What, honey?”
You know, just like a son. You know, just like a son. -He goes, “Haley told me
I was the daddy.”
-[audience exclaims] [Mr. Brennan] That’s really
where my doubt
started coming from. That’s false also. So, Mr. Brennan,
had you ever asked…
This is a guy you know. So, had you ever asked
this guy if he’d had sex
with Ms. Jackson, your high-school sweetheart? Oh, I already knew they was. [audience exclaims] I knew they was. That’s how we became friends, is because he was
truthful with me and told me what happened
in their past… He told me everything, and I don’t know why,
but me and him got real cool, we became friends, and then– Wait a minute, what did he
tell you specifically? -[laughing sarcastically]
-[audience exclaims, laughs] Yeah, I don’t know
if you wanna go there. Okay, well, smooth it out, and give me the general details
about the fact– He slept with her before,
during and after
we were together. Who knows when
they actually slept together. It was before, during
and after, I don’t know
if it was while, you know… And when you have
the false information– …at the same time,
I don’t know. Then you should
keep your mouth shut. I don’t see why
he’d lie to me though. -[Angel scoffs]
-Why would he lie to me? Okay, then why would he
lie to me and tell me stuff that you were doing
behind my back is why
he became friends with you? -That’s what I’m saying.
-Whatever. Mr. Brennan, when you
look at Makhiya, -you look at those pictures…
She looks just like me. -She looks just like me.
-[Haley] She does. -Why do you doubt, then?
-But if you open
that other picture up, she looks just like him, too. You let somebody else
get in your head and be the reason why
you’re not seeing your child. [Angel] Yeah. I’ve tried to see her.
I mean, I shouldn’t
have to fight. [Judge Lake] I can see
the tears in your eyes. I can see this really
means something to you. I shouldn’t have to fight
to see my baby. Yeah, it does.
I love that girl more
than anything else in my life. And she’s the only reason
why I moved
and keep pushing forward, ’cause I don’t have
nothing else in this world. -There’s nothing else
for me here.
-[Haley] You had me. -You had me. I was there
for you all the time.
-[Mr. Brennan] No, I didn’t. -You had all the other guys
in the whole town. Please.
-No. So, I heard, as you were
expressing yourself, you said, when you look at her,
she looks like you… [Mr. Brennan] She looks
exactly like me. …and then you feel like she
also looks like the other guy. [Mr. Brennan]He looks just
like me. Me and him
look like twins though.[Judge Lake] Why are you
in tears, Ms. Jackson? What are you feeling? I just know
who my baby’s dad is. And it just sucks
that we couldn’t have had it.And I have to be here.
It upsets me.-It frustrates me…
-[Mr. Brennan]Yeah, me too.[Haley]…that all this
even has to even happenwhen it could have been done
a long, long time ago between me and him
and nobody else. If there’s really that much
of a doubt, I would have
stepped forward, ’cause I have no doubt. Ms. Jackson, I do
need to ask you, because there is
a paternity question, were you sleeping
with other people during the relationship
with Mr. Brennan? If we weren’t together,
I could do whatever I want. [Mr. Brennan] I wish we could
take a lie-detector test. And you also disagree
with the testimony where they suggested
that you told this other guy that he was
her biological father. Yes, I’ve never told him that. -Then why would he say that?
-It’s always been Johnnie
since day one. -Why would he say that?
-[Ms. Winners] Why would
he say that? Johnnie knows this.
And he knows
how far I was with him. I was super close to him. So why are you
believing him over us? -It was him and nobody else.
-Why would he lie? That’s what I wanna know. So you don’t wanna
see your granddaughter? You don’t wanna
see your granddaughter because of what, someone else– Oh, I’m gonna see her,
believe that. I’m not talking to you.
I’m talking to your mother. -You wanna meddle in
any other time.
-[Mr. Brennan] We’ll see. -[audience exclaims, applauds]
-[Ms. Winners chuckles] You’re lucky. Okay. Whew. -Sorry, Your Honor.
-Oh, I’m lucky? Oh, yeah. I am lucky ’cause I get to
wake up every day and see her. -I am lucky.
-It is a very tense situation. I see that. The mamas here… -There’s a lot going on
with the mothers.
-[laughter] No, really. And as I see,
I mean, I can barely get
your daughter to testify -because you’re talking
over her, and pointing…
-I’m sorry. I mean, it’s a lot going on
between the mothers and it makes me wonder,
are you two getting in the way -of these two young people
really having a conversation?
-[Ms. Winners] I love Haley. -[audience applauds]
-No, I love Haley. [Judge Lake] No, no, no.
I’m not saying…
Listen, first of all, let’s get something clear
in the gallery knows. All of you care
about one another because you all
going at it so hard. When you don’t care
about people, you don’t have
all this to say. -No, you don’t.
-[Judge Lake] You just don’t. You just done. What I see
are childhood sweethearts and their respective mothers. -You have love for her…
-[Ms. Winners] I do. -…you have love for him…
-Yes, I do. …you two still have love
for one another. This is obvious
for everybody in this room. Raise your hand
if you don’t believe
what I just said. There’s not a hand raised
in this courtroom. Ms. Jackson, you are
pretty much now,
with the help of your mother, raising this beautiful
baby girl by yourself. -Yes.
-She’s a beautiful little girl. [Haley] Yes, she is. Thank you. And she deserves to know
who her biological father is. And she deserves
the love and care of her father, her grandmother, and her entire village. Ms. Jackson, have you
prepared yourself either way, or you still maintain
you know for certain Mr. Brennan
is Makhiya’s biological father? I’m certain. Mr. Brennan, have you
prepared yourself either way? Mm-hm. Yes, Ma’am, I have. If she’s mine,
I’m coming for her. She’s got a house,
she’s got her own room. She’s got
everything she needs
in Tennessee. If she’s not mine, I just
don’t want nothing to do
with them no more. I mean, I’ll keep up
with the baby, but… And I’ll say hallelujah
if you’re not the dad.
Believe me. I can’t even…
I don’t even like
hearing her voice. I don’t even like
hearing yours. So, Ms. Jackson,
your daughter just said she knows for certain
and has no doubt that Mr. Brennan
is the biological father and then you just say,
“Well, I’ll be happy
if you’re not.” -So, is there–
-[Angel] I know he’s the dad. I know he is. [stammering] I’m going on
what my daughter said. [Judge Lake] So you’re just
running your mouth? I’m just running my mouth. You should be quiet
when it’s against
your daughter’s benefit. -You should know
when to be quiet.
-[audience applauds] ‘Cause your daughter says
she knows for sure, and you come up talking about,
“Well, I hope he ain’t.” [Haley] I really…
Well, Your Honor, it doesn’t matter
what everybody else says
as long as I know. -[Judge Lake] I’m sorry?
-They’re not gonna do
anything anyway. It doesn’t matter
what the result says. So you’re just talking
because you’re angry. -[Angel] Very angry.
-All right. -You don’t really have a doubt?
-I don’t have a doubt. All right, well,
let’s see if in fact, what you’ve testified to
is true. I do have the results for you. Jerome, can I have
the envelope, please? [audience applauding] These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics and they read as follows. In the case of
Jackson v. Brennan…When it comes to
five-year-old Makhiya Jackson, it has been determined
by this court, Mr. Brennan, you… are the father. -Thank God.
-[all cheering] And I thought that,
but when your friend
comes to you and tells you that she says you’re not, I mean, you can only wonder. And then when you ask her
and she blocks you… You had the doubt,
but now that doubt is done. [Haley] Yes, Your Honor. You wanted to be
this beautiful baby’s father,
and you are. -Yes, ma’am.
-Now, this is the legal lesson here. -You are not on her
birth certificate right now.
-[Mr. Brennan] Mm-mm. That’s gonna be something
you two have to
get done immediately. Get that changed.
And that’s important. Not just for you, Mr. Brennan,
that’s important for Makhiya. You will then have a
legal right to see your child, and you’ll also have
a legal responsibility to help care
for her financially. -No problem.
-[Judge Lake] I don’t think
you do have a problem with it. I think it was clear
throughout this hearing that you love this baby
and you wanna be
in her life. More than anything
in the world. [Judge Lake] But there’s
too much noise here. Everybody running their mouth, but not enough people
coming up with solutions. -Right?
-Yeah. -[audience applauding]
-I agree. So I’m gonna send you off
to Dr. Jeff. I want you to take advantage
of the counseling. I want you to begin
to work through things. I want you to go
in there by yourself
without your mamas. [audience applauding] And then, to the mothers, your challenge is going to be
to stay out of it. All right. I wish you all
the very best. -She’s so beautiful.
She is worth the work.
-[Haley] Thank you. -Right?
-[Haley] Yes. Court is adjourned.