A woman who said she was desperate when she went to the men's room at a country-western concert was found not guilty Friday of illegally using the restroom.
Jurors deliberated for 23 minutes before acquitting Denise Wells of violating a city ordinance that prohibits people from using restrooms intended for members of the opposite sex in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance.She faced a maximum $200 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.
Wells, 33, and her lawyer and sister, Valorie Wells Davenport, laughed and hugged each other when the verdict was read.
"I'm relieved. I'm elated," Wells said. "The jurors told me, `You had us all the way.' "
Testimony in the trial, which began Thursday, ended earlier in the day.
Wells testified that she saw the line outside the women's room at the July 7 concert by George Strait was so long, "I felt I was in a situation where I had to be in a restroom. I took the only option I felt was available."
The legal secretary said she covered her eyes and apologized to men already in the restroom at The Summit. A loud remark she made about leaving the toilet seat up was "more of a nervous reaction than a cocky remark," she said.
Wells was arrested and removed from the concert, which she paid $125 to attend.
"I was devastated. I felt I was being harassed for doing something I felt I had no choice but to do. I entered the men's room to go to the bathroom and that's all," she testified.
The defense's case focused on the lack of adequate facilities for women at such public places as the Summit.
The case has made Wells a celebrity of sorts. Her bathroom trip has been the subject of national news coverage, and she has made appearances on the talk shows of Johnny Carson, Geraldo Rivera and Joan Rivers.