Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s arraignment took place earlier today. Jackson plead not guilty to the two felonies and four misdemeanors he was charged with earlier this week. Jackson will have a pretrial on Oct. 9 and a preliminary hearing on Nov. 3.
If you’re a little surprised by Jackson’s plea, you’re not the only one. I’ve spent the last couple hours trying to figure out why Jackson would plead not guilty in what seemed to be a cut and dry case. Well, thanks to The Orange County Register, I have the answer. They were able to speak with Jackson and his attorney, Carol Lavacot, following the arraignment, which shed a lot of light on the situation. For the first time publicly, Jackson revealed what happened on July 15.
He said he thought he was on a mission to save a friend – who had recently lost his faith in God – and was unaware that he had hit any other cars or was being pursued by a phalanx of police cars.
“I thought I heard the voice of God telling me to go save Brian,” he said in an interview today after his arraignment on two felony evading arrest charges. “I felt if I didn’t get to Brian, he would die.”
Now, he says, he believes he was irrational because of lack of sleep and nutrition.
“What was I thinking?” he said. “l know now that Brian was never in danger. …But I really thought at the time that he was about to die.”
Jackson said he takes “full responsibility” for what happened, adding that he apologizes to “everyone who was affected.”
Jackson went on to claim that the lack of sleep and nutrition was caused by the alleged betrayal of his best friend and father figure.
But he said he was depressed and obsessed after learning that his best friend, who was also one of his employees, had allegedly been cheating him out of money.
Losing the cash, he said, wasn’t as painful as learning that his friend was behind what he called a betrayal. The friend, who he declined to identify, was like a father to him. He said they prayed together and that he felt like they were family.
Jackson said his mind started to obsessively dwell on the betrayal, prompting him to lose his appetite and a lot of sleep.
It’s pretty obvious that the person he declines to identify is his former trainer, Juanito Ibarra, whom he fired just days before the incident. Jackson also talks about this movie called “The Secret,” which apparently is some kind of inspirational story that has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey show and used by the courts to help motivate convicted drunk drivers. According to the story, the movie was the catalyst to Quinton’s belief that his friend Brian would die.
Jackson said he watched the movie to the end that night and saw its message in a new light. Jackson, who became a born-again Christian about four years ago, said he connected the teachings of the movie with the teachings of the Bible.
“The Bible told me to have faith,” he said. “But ‘The Secret’ taught me how to have faith.”
But then he also remembered he had loaned a copy of “The Secret” to his friend Brian Talbert, also a UFC fighter. He said he somehow got it in his mind that if he didn’t warn his friend to watch the movie all the way to the end, Brian would die.
Wow, I don’t even know what to say.
So you’re probably asking how all this relates to Jackson’s not guilty plea. I’ll let his attorney tell you.
Lavacot said that Jackson, because of his mental state, was unaware that he was breaking any laws during the chase.
“The law says you have to have criminal intent. He didn’t have it,” Lavacot said.
“You can analogize this to somebody whose child is dying,” she added. “Are they going to slow down or stop and wait for an ambulance? Or are they going to do everything they can to get that child to the hospital?”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you beat the US Justice System. And to think, I initially thought Jackson had the worst lawyers in the world. Must be why I’m not one myself. I could never analogize Jackson’s delirium to a dying child with a straight face.