Houston dad testifies against former in-laws accused in international kidnapping case

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A Houston dad stood in court today to testify against his in-laws who reportedly helped their daughter take his son and keep him in Brazil. (KTRK)

The first day of testimony is over in an international kidnapping case that puts a Houston doctor against his former Brazilian in-laws.

Dr. Chris Brann walked out of the federal courthouse in downtown Houston without saying a word. He spent all day on the stand and could be there for the remainder of the week.

Brann is the father of Nico, an eight-year-boy in the center of this saga that has lasted the entirety of his young life.

Dr. Brann is the star prosecution witness in the trial against Jemima and Carlos Guimaraes, the wealthy Brazilian grandparents accused of orchestrating a kidnapping scheme that moved Nico to Brazil - after their daughter, Marcelle and Brann divorced.

In testimony that began early this morning, Brann testified at length about how he and his now ex-wife first met, dated and got married. The couple met in graduate school at Rice University and married while Brann was still a resident.

Under direct examination, Brann spoke about the joy that came with the birth of Nico, but of also the marriage unraveling. He testified there were often fights between the couple over money and his desire to watch porn. The fights sometimes got physical. Brann said the couple underwent extensive counseling before Marcelle Guimaraes eventually filed for divorce.

Audio recordings of custody exchanges between the couple that was played in court showed Brann and his ex-wife talking about a variety of issues. Prosecutors were trying to show that Marcelle was planning all along to take Nico back to Brazil, and she was trying to convince Brann to willingly go along with the plan. Brann says he never did.

The testimony is expected to continue Wednesday, with defense attorneys Rusty Hardin and Jimmy Ardoin expected to cross-examine Brann.

The defense attorneys did not speak to the media. However, based on previous court appearances, Hardin is expected to bring up issues relating to Brann's porn habit, the alleged abuse, and other issues that focus on his role as Nico's father.

The Guimaraes were arrested this spring when they returned to the U.S. to attend another grandchild's birthday party. Marcelle and Nico have always remained in Brazil, and out of reach of U.S. prosecutors.

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