Chris Thieneman finally got his day in court, and was found NOT GUILTY of the most serious charge against him brought by an ex-girlfriend.
In Judge Amber Wolf’s court, a jury considered charges stemming from a September 2013 incident in which the former girlfriend, April Smith, claimed that the former U of L football star and political candidate tried to strangle her. This occurred after Thieneman got out of a car she was driving on Brownsboro Road. Smith left the car running and followed Thieneman to a nearby business in which she was a partner with Thieneman.
MY TAKE: THE REST OF THE STORY
If you follow this site, you know Chris and I are good friends, and even if we weren’t, I’d be convinced this prosecution is a travesty of justice. This woman, April Smith, has pursued multiple charges against Chris, convincing a prosecutor of her story and dragging him into court. She still has a civil case against him and there are additional charges. But it seems obvious that she is doing all this for one purpose – to get her hands on his money,
Certainly I believe Chris’s story — which is simply this. At the time of the incident, he was attempting to end their relationship. She would have none of it. Unfortunately, the breakup couldn’t be simple, because Chris had set her up as the owner of a Snap Fitness franchise (in a property he owned) and a massage business (where the accusation of assault took place).
While Chris had moved on from the relationship, her connections to him emotionally and financially wouldn’t allow a clean break. On the day of the incident, it was Smith who left the car she was driving running in the middle of a busy street, and it was she who caused the confrontation in the office. She pressed charges, and a sympathetic police officer believed the story she made up at the scene without even speaking to Chris.
Smith’s attorney in her civil case made Chris an attractive offer — that for $5,000 she would drop the case. He’s certainly paid a lot more than that in legal fees. But Chris is stubborn that way — he wouldn’t admit to something he knows he didn’t do.
And simply because Smith made the claim, Chris was arrested, taken to jail, and subjected to a flurry of bad publicity, including being the lead story on the evening news. Later, she told authorities that Chris had physically damaged the Dixie Highway Snap Fitness business (remember, it was on property he owned) and, without proof, filed more charges that he had violated a domestic violence order. This precipitated another round of negative media attention in which media coverage centered on the charges and didn’t get Thieneman’s side of the story.
There are plenty of lessons here. If you’re a man, know that the police are likely to believe any woman who claims you assaulted her and will take you to jail without evidence. If you’re in a romantic relationship, don’t bring finances and businesses into it. And if you’re a well-known personality, know the media will sensationalize your story, reporting only the charges against you without getting your response.
Chris is happy to have gotten his day in court, and calls the result a victory, though he doesn’t understand how he could be convicted of wanton endangerment when he was the one trying to get away from the supposed victim. She is likely to continue her futile case against him in other courts.
Chris is moving on. He’s getting married soon, and has a beautiful baby daughter. He continues to be successful as a businessman. But he vows that April Smith is not getting a dime from him.