The retired optometrist suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a ski collision compared the actress to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a bizarre rant on the witness stand as the widely watched trial comes to an end.
Terry Sanderson, 76, continued his testimony on Wednesday, and made the wild comparison that Paltrow needed to be held ‘accountable’ for the crash.
”I guess like, what is going on here? This is obviously an issue that someone needs to be accountable for, and if they’re never accountable, what are they gonna do? They’re gonna do it again,’ he began.
‘Now we have the… molesting of young children on an island,’ he said, making a reference to Epstein’s infamous ‘Pedophile Island’ in the Caribbean where he trafficked and sexually abused dozens of girls.
A flabbergasted Paltrow looked over at her attorney who called Sanderson’s testimony ‘ridiculous.’ The judge then told the jury to disregard Sanderson’s words. Closing arguments from both sides are expected to be heard on Thursday.
Terry Sanderson, 76, the retired optometrist suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a ski collision compared the actress to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a bizarre rant on stand
Paltrow gives a stunned look at Sanderson before looking over at her attorney who called the testimony ‘ridiculous.’ The judge then told the jury to disregard Sanderson’s words
Sanderson is suing Paltrow, claiming she skied out of control and crashed into him, leaving him with four broken ribs and a concussion with symptoms that have lasted years beyond the collision.
After a judge dismissed his initial $3.1 million complaint, Sanderson amended and refiled the lawsuit seeking ‘more than $300,000. In response, Paltrow countersued for a symbolic $1 and attorney fees.
On Wednesday, in the final hour of Paltrow’s defense team’s last full day to call witnesses, they called Sanderson back to the witness stand.
Sanderson’s shocking comparison on the witness stand followed a question by his attorney Kristin VanOrman, who asked: ‘Was it important to you to bring this lawsuit?’
Sanderson then told the court about the slew of insults he had received because he was suing a celebrity. This led to his likening Paltrow to Epstein.
After making the shocking comparison while on the witness stand, ‘your honor’ could be heard from the other side to which Sanderson interjected ‘denial.’
‘This is ridiculous testimony, he’s talking about…’ Paltrow’s attorney Stephen Owens sputtered. The judge told the jury to disregard that part of the testimony.
Sanderson continued his testimony on Wednesday, and made the wild comparison that Paltrow needed to be held ‘accountable’ for the crash
Sanderson is suing Paltrow (pictured in court Wednesday), claiming she skied out of control and crashed into him, leaving him with injuries that have lasted years beyond the collision
Paltrow sits next to her attorney in court on Wednesday while Sanderson rants on the stand
Terry Sanderson leaves Park City District Court in Park City, Utah, on Wednesday
Paltrow’s defense team used most of their final full day in control of the witness stand to call medical experts to testify.
Sanderson’s attorneys are expected to begin on Thursday morning by recalling their medical experts to rebut claims made by Paltrow’s. Each side will then have roughly one hour to give the jury their closing arguments.
Paltrow’s attorneys are expected to continue their two-pronged approach, both arguing that the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer didn’t cause the accident and that its effects aren’t as bad as Sanderson claims. They’ve painted him as an ‘obsessed’ man pushing ‘utter B.S.’ claims against someone whose fame makes them vulnerable to unfair, frivolous lawsuits.
Sanderson’s team will likely cite how the man claiming to be the sole eyewitness testified to seeing Paltrow hit their client and continue spinning the case as a contemporary David versus Goliath tale in which Sanderson suffered injuries and had the courage to take on a movie star.
Paltrow’s account of the collision with Terry Sanderson was shown in an animated reconstruction as the defense claims he was actually the one who hit the actress from behind
Sanderson testified Friday that he had continued to pursue damages seven years after the accident because the cascading events that followed – his post-concussion symptoms and the accusation that he sued to exploit Paltrow’s celebrity – added insult to injury.
‘That’s the purpose: to make me regret this lawsuit. It’s the pain of trying to sue a celebrity,’ he said on Wednesday in response to a question from his attorney about Paltrow’s team probing his personal life, medical records and extensive post-crash international travel itinerary.
Though both sides have marshaled significant resources to emerge victorious, the verdict could end up being remembered as an afterthought dwarfed by the worldwide attention the trial has attracted. The amount of money at stake for both sides pales in comparison to the typical legal costs of a multiyear lawsuit, private security detail and expert witness-heavy trial.
With lengthy rosters of witnesses on call, attorneys have confronted difficult choices about how to juggle their hired experts with family members, doctors and testimony from Sanderson and Paltrow themselves.
Paltrow’s defense team picked mostly experts to mount their final defense on Wednesday. They chose to call four medical experts to testify rather than Paltrow’s husband, television producer Brad Falchuk.
A day earlier, they read depositions from Paltrow’s two children – Apple and Moses – rather than calling them to testify as they earlier indicated they had planned.
While Apple (left) and her Moses Martin (right) were ‘ready, willing and able’ to testify in person, their mother’s lawyers opted to have transcripts of their depositions read aloud
The actress sported a long blue overcoat, black outfit, classic Ray Ban aviators and a faint grin as she exited the building ahead of the final scheduled day of trial on Thursday
Among the most bombshell testimony has been from Paltrow and Sanderson. On Friday members of the jury were riveted when Paltrow said on the stand that she initially thought she was being ‘violated’ when the collision began.
Three days later Sanderson gave an entirely different account, saying she ran into him and sent him ‘absolutely flying.’
The trial has also shone a spotlight on Park City, known primarily as a ski resort that welcomes celebrities like Paltrow for each year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Local residents have increasingly filled the courtroom gallery throughout the trial. They’ve nodded along as lawyers and witnesses have referenced local landmarks like Montage Deer Valley, the ski-side hotel-spa where Paltrow got a massage after the collision.
At times they have appeared captivated by Paltrow’s reactions to the proceedings, while at others they have mirrored the jury, whose endurance has been tested by hours of jargon-dense medical testimony.