Kathryn Knott spent five months in jail last year after a jury convicted her of assault and reckless endangerment for the gay bashing of a couple in Center City Philadelphia. She is now claiming self-defense during the civil trial.
In 2014, Knott and 14 of her friends were in Philadelphia to celebrate a birthday. They crossed paths with Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught, a gay couple. Witnesses said that Knott and friends Phillip Williams and Kevin Harrigan used antigay slurs during the incident, which began as a verbal altercation and escalated to a physical attack. Haught’s eye socket was broken and his jaw was shattered. He had his mouth wired shut for eight months to recover from the injuries.
Knott’s codefendants Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams escaped jail time when they entered plea deals last year.
Knott made the self-defense claim in a June 23, 2017 court filing in a civil case brought by plaintiffs Haught and Hesse, who are seeking at least $500,000 in damages. The couple is also suing Williams and Harrigan for the September 2014 attack at 16th and Chancellor streets as well.
In last month’s filing, Wayne Maynard, an attorney for Knott, wrote that she “asserts the affirmative defense of self-defense, and to the extent plaintiffs sustained the injuries and damages as alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint, said injuries and/or damages were sustained while [Knott] was in the process of defending herself from the real and perceived threat of bodily injury arising from the actions of plaintiffs and their friends.”
However, the two men were by themselves at the time of the incident.
An attorney for Haught and Hesse filed a reply July 6, denying all of Kathryn Knott’s claims. A settlement conference in the case is scheduled for September 13. If no settlement is reached, a pretrial conference is tentatively scheduled for November 6, with a jury trial set for December 4.
Additionally, a woman who was behind an anti-Knott Internet account filed a $5 million lawsuit against Knott, alleging that Knott was part of a conspiracy against her.