TORONTO (AP) — A television actress testified Thursday that she sent a former Canadian Broadcast Corp. radio host flowers after spending a weekend with him where he choked her and slapped her across the face.
Lucy DeCoutere, a star of the TV and film series "Trailer Park Boys," said she continued to spend time with Jian Ghomeshi despite the alleged assault at his home in 2003 — and a year later sang a karaoke version of the Britney Spears song "(Hit Me) Baby One More Time" with him.
Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking. He is the former host of "Q," a popular radio show on culture heard also in the U.S.
The allegations by multiple women against the star rocked Canada's vaunted public broadcaster and sparked a nationwide conversation about consent and sexual harassment.
DeCoutere, the first woman to go public with her name, said she kissed good night after the alleged assault. She said she went out with him again that weekend and sent him flowers when she returned to her home in Halifax.
"Sounds like a ludicrous choice, but when I spend time with men, I send them flowers," she said. She also said she later went on his radio show and spent time with him at a conference. During a karaoke session, Ghomeshi walked on stage while DeCoutere was singing, grabbed her microphone and made it a duet.
"The song was called '(Hit Me) Baby One More Time,'" DeCoutere testified. "He took my microphone and that was sort of a weird power play, it felt like."
The first woman to testify this week, whose name is subject to a publication ban, acknowledged that she emailed Ghomeshi a bikini-clad picture of herself a year after he allegedly sexually assaulted her, pulling her hair and punching her in the head.
Police launched an investigation in 2014 after nine women contacted various media sources to report allegations of assault and sexual assault involving Ghomeshi.
Ghomeshi, who first gained fame as a member of the 1990s satirical pop band Moxy Fruvous, previously defended himself in a 1,500-word statement on Facebook, saying women consented to having "rough sex" and that he was the victim of a disgruntled ex-girlfriend. The CBC fired him.