FORT WORTH – Three letters became the focus of the rape and drug trial of Arlington pastor Terry Hornbuckle Friday afternoon, including one from former Dallas Cowboys player Emmitt Smith.
Two of the three letters were introduced by the prosecution. One from the Dallas Cowboys that said Mr. Hornbuckle had never been an employee of the team or a team chaplain. The other was from the National Football League, which said that Mr. Hornbuckle never played in the league and was never on an NFL roster. One of Mr. Hornbuckle’s alleged victims testified earlier this week that Mr. Hornbuckle had told her he was a counselor to Dallas Cowboys rookies and was a former NFL player.
The third letter, introduced by the defense was from Mr. Smith. He wrote the letter to the Tarrant County grand jury and said that he had known Mr. Hornbuckle for 10 years and described him as a spiritual advisor for the Cowboys.
The letter said Mr. Hornbuckle was “an honest and trustworthy man” and a “true model for our family.” Mr. Smith said Mr. Hornbuckle had done premarital counseling for him and his wife. Mr. Hornbuckle “is a blessing to us and a blessing to others as well.”
In earlier testimony Friday, a former assistant to Mr. Hornbuckle testified that he instructed her to lie to the grand jury and then demanded that she detail her testimony afterward.
Lisa Fuller, who served as executive assistant to Mr. Hornbuckle and his wife, told jurors that her boss threatened her and demanded that she portray him as a loving father and husband.
“You had better sell me like the (expletive) I am,” she said, quoting Mr. Hornbuckle.
The founder of Agape Christian Fellowship church in Arlington is on trial on three charges of sexual assault. Two of the accusers are former church members, and two said the megachurch minister drugged them.
All three alleged victims have already testified in the trial, which started last week. The attorneys representing Mr. Hornbuckle have argued that any sex with the women was consensual.
Defense attorney Mike Heiskell questioned Ms. Fuller about whether her boss’s actions were only a result of stress from lawsuits filed by some of his accusers. He also pointed out during cross-examination that Ms. Fuller was not so intimidated that she followed Mr. Hornbuckle’s instructions.
“I was intimidated by him, but the truth is the truth,” she said, adding that she didn’t want to go to jail.
Ms. Fuller also said that Mr. Hornbuckle coached her on her grand jury testimony based on information he received from another person who had testified. He instructed her to say that rumors of drug use and extramarital affairs by Mr. Hornbuckle were spread by a disgruntled former employee, Ms. Fuller told the jury.
She also said that Mr. Hornbuckle repeatedly reminded her what to say. Instead of following his orders, she said she told the truth and refused to reveal her grand jury testimony.
Ms. Fuller said his reaction was: “I don’t want to hear that (expletive).”
Another former church employee, Lisa Mikals, was given probation for lying to the grand jury on behalf of Mr. Hornbuckle. She also testified that he coerced her.
Mr. Hornbuckle is also facing more sexual assault charges as well as charges of possession of methamphetamine, tampering with a witness and retaliation. Those are not part of this trial.
Also on Friday morning, an employee of the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office testified that Mr. Hornbuckle’s DNA was found on a glass drug pipe. She also told the jury that she found no evidence of semen on the clothes of the first alleged victim.
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