If you were in Judge David Farr’s courtroom this past week you’d think Houston Attorney’s Doug York and Lloyd Kelley wanted to make sure a Young Pakistani woman was sent to her death by stoning.
Hira Azhar is seeking a divorce from controversial Houston developer Ali Choudhri, accused of hiding tens of millions of dollars from his wife. Their arranged marriage happened in Pakistan, but there is no dispute they lived in Houston as husband and wife.
Choudhri thinks his sharia divorce chant and some paperwork in Pakistan takes him off the hook from losing a penny to Azhar, who married Choudhri at the age of 18.
Even seasoned observers would have cringed over the courtroom testimony this week, as the sharia law debate took back stage to the Taliban, bribery, assassination, virginity and even President Obama.
Days ago Choudhri lawyers filed motions in the Houston court that could get Azhar killed back home. They alleged she wasn’t a virgin when she married Choudhri as required, bud had been married secretly before. They produced a marriage certificate from the Taliban controlled Pakistani frontier to prove it.
Both the Imam and the marriage clerk who supposedly signed and stamped the wedding certificate now say it is a total fake. Even though fake documents in the Taliban region are pretty common, Choudhri’ s lawyer allege the clerk was paid 26,000 to lose his memory of the tribal bliss They didn’t accuse the Imam of lying, but…
Choudhri’s lawyers haven’t produced a single picture ever taken of Azhar and the mystery first husband. Not one. Yet on Friday, they tried to convince Judge David Farr to let Pakistan sort it out, in part because they claim Azhar’s family is threatening witnesses and people are too scared to be part of this Texas showdown. They even claim in court papers the lawyer for the first husband was just about to come to Houston to blow the whistle before he was assassinated. The plot thickens.
York and Kelly know that if this mystery marriage is actually true, and Azhar goes back to Pakistan, she could face death. That didn’t stop them from asking her if she had medical records proving she was really a virgin when she married Choudhri.
On the witness stand, Azhar testified she has never even heard of this mysterious first husband, and her lawyer Bobby Newman showed records showing Azhar was taking a practice test for school and attending a family party on the day she was supposedly eloping in Taliban country.
Newman even had to enter Azhar’s high school diary into evidence, which doesn’t include a word about this secret husband, but did get into the deepest personal secrets of a high school girl who was about to be married off and leave her home for Houston.
What did York and Kelly do? They accused Azhar of altering her own personal diary, now on public display, as part of the bigamy scheme and elaborate cover up to hide her violations of sharia law.
Their gotcha moment was the July 4, 2008 entry into her yearbook. Azhar had written her fantasy was to get her diploma from Harvard in America from President Barack Obama. York pounced on the fact Obama wasn’t elected to be President until November.
Of course, that is why they call it the fantasy Mr. York, but nice try. Azhar was probably not the only 17-year old girl living overseas that got caught up in that historic American political campaign.
Divorce trials can be nasty, but you have to agree that any guy who wants to make horrible allegations against the woman he married, and then send her back to Pakistan to get stoned to death is a real peach.
Judge David Farr denied the Pakistani two-step and Monday morning in the 312 th District Court they will begin arguing about the temporary support Choudhri may have to come up with while the divorce battle continues.
Expect another day of fireworks, in a trial that has already triggered international intrigue and some of the most bizarre allegations a Houston family courtroom has ever seen.