Despite her soft-spoken delivery on the witness stand at the Dirksen federal courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday, Kimberley O'Brien's words were explosive.
O'Brien told a federal jury a "roller coaster" courtship and 2005 wedding to 57-year-old rare coins dealer Kevin Anderson preceded what she would describe as an abusive, "sadomasochistic" relationship that included a forced abortion, rape and humiliation, according to NBC Chicago.
The 52-year-old Gold Coast woman filed a $60 million suit against Anderson seven years ago and has been in litigation leading up to Tuesday's testimony.
In her suit, O'Brien alleges sexual assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Anderson, the Sun-Times reports; O'Brien also claims Anderson forced her to abort their child before he would agree to marry her.
When she came forward with her claims in 2006, O'Brien said Anderson started beating and sexually assaulting her on their honeymoon, later forcing her to adhere to a "master-slave" contract that included severe punishments for refusing to obey rules like walking around the home naked or not showing "respect."
O'Brien's attorneys used the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde” to describe her ex-husband and said she never went to police because O'Brien was "embarrassed, humiliated and fearful," the Tribune reports.
But while O'Brien alleges her ex beat her unconscious and said she could avoid punishment if she were a "good slave," attorney's for Anderson call the woman's claims "a story for the tabloids."
"Sex, abuse, deceit — and none of it happened," Anderson's attorney Charles Cole said in his opening remarks, according to the Tribune. Instead, Anderson's camp say it was O'Brien who introduced the S&M lifestyle into their relationship and was a willing participant.
During Tuesday's opening remarks, the defense reportedly showed the jury a four-foot tall photo of a naked O'Brien taken the day after she alleged the abuse took place on their honeymoon. “She liked it,” Anderson's attorneys said, noting O'Brien's smiling face and apparent lack of bruises.
O'Brien's attorneys disagreed, telling the court, “No man should ever be able to treat a woman he claims to love — or any woman — like this.”
The trial is expected to last two weeks.