Courtney Clenney’s attorneys claim abuse by Christian Obumseli: ‘He was an animal’

Posted at 8:26 PM, July 6, 2023 and last updated 5:12 PM, July 7, 2023


MIAMI (Court TV) — The attorneys representing an OnlyFans model accused of murdering her boyfriend in Florida said they expect the case to go to trial as they work to prove their client’s innocence.

Courtney Clenney is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, Christian Obumseli, who was stabbed to death in their Miami apartment on April 3, 2022. Clenney is expected to appear in court on Friday for a pre-trial status conference.

Courtney Clenney in Miami court

Courtney Clenney appears in court Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, for an Arthur Hearing. Clenney is accused of murdering her boyfriend. (Court TV)

Attorneys representing Clenney spoke to Court TV on Thursday ahead of the hearing and said they fully expect the case to proceed to trial, and said they will tell the judge at the hearing that they will likely be prepared for the trial to begin at the end of this year or the beginning of 2024.

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“We absolutely will be going to trial,” Sabrina Puglisi, one of Clenney’s attorneys, told Court TV’s Julie Grant. “There’s not even a question. Courtney is innocent and she will have her day in court.”

Puglisi and Frank Prieto, also representing Clenney, said that they have been taking depositions, conducting discovery and mounting a “vigorous defense,” which emphasizes what they describe as a pattern of domestic violence in the couple’s relationship.

Despite a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Clenney by Obumseli’s family, Prieto and Puglisi said that their client was the victim in the relationship. The attorneys said that evidence previously released in the case, including an elevator video that shows the couple arguing, bolsters their defense.

Prieto also referenced a police interview that was recorded by bodycam that showed a neighbor approaching the officer at the crime scene, unsolicited, to report that Obumseli had been assaulting Clenney the day prior on a balcony.

“They saw it from their balcony, they felt they needed to get involved and that is a critical piece of evidence,” Prieto said. “Mr. Obumseli, though the family would like to paint him as a docile individual, a peaceful man, that is absurd. He was an abuser, he was an animal.”

Courtney Clenney and her boyfriend, Christian Obumseli inside the elevator of their apartment building

This image from surveillance video provided by the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office shows social media model Courtney Clenney and her boyfriend, Christian Obumseli inside the elevator of their apartment building Feb. 21, 2022. Clenney is accused of fatally stabbing Obumseli on April 3. (Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office)

Court TV obtained a recording that Obumseli allegedly secretly made, in which Clenney can be heard using a racial slur and saying, “Shut up and let me slap you.” Clenney’s attorneys said they do not believe the evidence will be admissible at trial because of recording laws in Florida.

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Puglisi said that the conversation only offers a brief snapshot of the relationship. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t tell you whether he attacked her on the date of the incident. It doesn’t talk about how he choked her and threw her to the ground and how she told him to stay away from her and he still charged at her and she had to defend herself.”

Puglisi said that days before the deadly confrontation, Clenney had come forward about the alleged abuse and asked for help.

“It’s an ugly conversation, but what you don’t see is that he gaslights her before these conversations,” Prieto said. “That was his M.O. and in a letter written to Courtney, he acknowledges the abuse by gaslighting her.”