Testimony got underway Monday in the trial of a Clarksville mother who allegedly berated Transportation Security Administration officers who were trying to pat down her teenage daughter at the Nashville airport.
Andrea Abbott is charged with disorderly conduct in the July 2011 confrontation.
Attorney Brent Horst has said his client may have been loud, but she was only exercising her right to free speech.
“Truly ladies and gentlemen, we believe the case you will see is an abuse of power,” Horst told the Nashville jury during opening arguments Monday.
Prosecutors claim Abbott became increasingly agitated during the incident.
“The defendant became increasingly agitated and verbally abusive, calling TSA employees pedophiles and child molesters,” prosecutor Megan King said.
Abbott testified at a hearing last year that she was confused by the screening process. She thought her daughter had been singled out for a pat-down, but officers wouldn't tell her why.
The case briefly drew national attention as hundreds offered Abbott support and donations amid debate over whether new, intrusive screening methods should be allowed at airports.
Surveillance video from Nashville International Airport shows the entire incident, including when Abbott was escorted out of the airport in handcuffs.
Both TSA officials and airport police are expected to testify in the trial.
Closing arguments are expected to take place Tuesday.
- Oct. 13, 2011: Grand jury to get Tenn. airport pat-down case
- Aug. 1, 2011: Woman to fight charges in airport pat-down dispute
- July 30, 2011: Mom arrested at airport screening defends actions
- July 13, 2011: Woman refuses airport screening for daughter, arrested