Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial Day 3
Gwyneth Paltrow is worried about the way her bombshell legal battle over a 2016 ski accident is going, her trial has heard.
Paltrow, 50, is in court for an eight-day hearing to decide whether she caused a ski crash that left retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76, with four broken ribs and brain damage.
In conference prior to Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings, the two legal teams argued over whether Paltrow’s lawyer is allowed to grill Sanderson’s daughter Polly Grasham about another daughter Jenny, who will not appear.
Sanderson’s lawyer said the line of questioning amounts to an unnecessary attack on his character which is only happening because Paltrow ‘is worried about the way this case is going.’
Sykes said: ‘You can’t just attack someone’s character because his client is worried about the way this case is going.’
Terry Sanderson’s attorney said Gwyneth Paltrow is worried about the way her bombshell legal battle over a 2016 ski accident is going. Paltrow is due to testify on Friday, but today the court will hear from Sanderson
Paltrow looked on as her lawyer got involved in a heated exchange with the daughter of the skier she is accused of colliding with in 2016
Terry Sanderson’s daughter Polly Grasham, 49, said he changed dramatically in the wake of the crash and is no longer the ‘gregarious’ man he once was
Prior to the crash, Grasham said, her father (pictured entering court’ had a ‘Mensa mind’, was good at troubleshooting and loved to spend time with granddaughters
Skyes added: ‘[Polly] is 49, she’s been out of the house nearly 30 years, to ask her questions about whether her sister [Jenny] who hasn’t testified is truthful runs a risk of prejudicing the jury for someone who isn’t going to testify.’
Owens, who was overruled, had said he wanted to ask Grasham about her father’s behavior towards her sister Jenny and about an email he sent after the accident in which he declared: ‘I’m famous!’
He said: ‘It is their [the plaintiff’s] position that he’s not faking for gain. It is our position that he is. I have a $3million case to defend for my client.’
At one point during cross examination Paltrow turned and grimaced at observers as her lawyer got involved in a heated exchange with Grasham.
Paltrow’s lawyer Stephen Owens first accused Grasham of dissuading her sister Jenny from coming to the trial before repeatedly asking her if she believed Sanderson had been ‘domineering and abusive’ towards her.
Grasham said she had offered to pay for her sister’s plane ticket to attend the trial, said her father had not been domineering and abusive towards her sister and mother but did say he had been a strict parent.
Owens said he too had offered to purchase Jenny a plane ticket and asked Grasham if she had influenced her sister not to come, to which she replied: ‘No not at all – I honor people’s journey so that’s entirely up to her.’
Polly Grasham, 49, now lives near Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, but still sees her father Terry Sanderson ‘four to five times’ per year.
She said he changed dramatically in the wake of the crash and is no longer the ‘gregarious’ man he once was.
Prior to the crash, Grasham said, her father had a ‘Mensa mind’, was good at troubleshooting and loved to spend time with granddaughters Hope, 25, and Anne, 22.
Cross-examining Polly Grasham, Paltrow’s lawyer Stephen Owens repeatedly asked her if she believed Sanderson had been ‘domineering and abusive’ towards her sister
At the end of her testimony, Grasham became tearful as she told the jury she hopes her family will be able to move on after the trial
‘[He was] just really fun-loving, gregarious, really quick with a joke and a smile. My dad was smart. I used to describe him as a Mensa mind. Quick to figure things out,’ she said.
Grasham said: ‘It’s really messy right now, it’s really hard. I think he’s in a really negative place and that’s hard for me as a daughter.
‘It’s like the main sentence is gone and all we have are the little details – part of the frustration is he gets caught up in little details and the primary focus is gone.
‘I have to bring it full circle. I think he gets frustrated and angry. Now it’s very A to B, don’t throw in a C or a D. I understand there is a lot of grief and loss for the way his life functioned before, it doesn’t function like that now.’.
She said she was told of the crash on the day it happened and knew he was getting medical treatment but only realized the extent of his injuries when he came to Idaho at the end of May 2016 for Hope’s graduation.
Grasham said: ‘There was a time when he was sitting in a chair by my window and I almost expected drool to be coming out of his mouth. ‘He hadn’t engaged with anybody and had taken himself off to a remote corner – that was when I first felt something was terribly wrong.’
She also said Sanderson had become increasingly angry and ‘petty’ in the wake of the crash – in contrast to his previous behavior.
Grasham said the symptoms were worst in the first 18 months after the crash and have improved a little since but said he still struggles with multitasking and disorientation.
At the end of her testimony, Grasham became tearful as she told the jury she hopes her family will be able to move on after the trial.
She said: ‘I hope that he moves on, I hope we’re able to put this very strange chapter behind us.
‘I think we have a lot of healing to do and that rehab so he can try to live a good life. He deserves that.’
Day 3 of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski accident trial kicked off with testimony from Terry Sanderson’s neuropsychologist Dr. Alina Fong
Thursday’s proceedings will hear from Sanderson’s daughters Shae Herath and Polly Grasham before Sanderson himself begins his account of the crash at 4pm
Earlier in the day official proceedings had kicked off with testimony from Sanderson’s neuropsychologist Dr. Alina Fong who said he had been an ‘ideal patient’ who showed no sign of ‘malingering’ or faking his injuries.
Dr. Fong said: ‘Terry showed up to every appointment on time, he gave his best effort. He had 32 hours of therapy – he was an ideal patient. I got to see him every day.
‘There was no suggestion he was malingering or in any way faking it – it was quite the opposite. He doesn’t want to be sick and he was willing to do everything he could. ‘
She also described how Sanderson had suffered a panoply of symptoms, among them pain and personality changes that affected his life.
Dr. Fong said she had encouraged him to travel, albeit with companions, as a way to help him overcome his problems.
She said: ‘He was reporting a myriad of symptoms including cognitive issues – he wasn’t thinking as clearly as he was before.
‘He reported personality changes, pain, headaches that he didn’t have before. These were quite significantly affecting his life – his personal relationships, his family life.
‘His self-confidence. It was affecting him on so many levels. He loved life, traveling. By the time he came to me, that was all gone.’
During cross-examination, the hearing descended into a series of angry exchanges between Paltrow’s attorney James Egan and Dr. Fong – with the neuropsychologist rubbishing the defense’s experts and accusing them of not taking post concussion symptoms seriously.
Watched by Paltrow, who had traded her much derided ‘Jeffrey Dahmer glasses’ for a tortoiseshell pair, Dr. Fong said Egan was trying to ‘convolute’ matters by raising possible alternative causes for Sanderson’s symptoms and pinned the blame for them on the ski crash.
She told court: ‘Anything is possible but not probable.
‘This was a significant injury where he lost consciousness and had four broken ribs, this was not a light tap.
‘Whether he did or didn’t lose consciousness shouldn’t be debated – that’s a red herring. You don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion.’
After angrily ordering Egan not to interrupt, she added: ‘Of all the experts that are opining, I am the best judge of what happened to him in this case. You criticize me but we can turn this around – your experts spent no time with him.
‘He is still struggling. That is what the focus should be. He still needs help.’
Paltrow was glamorous in a loose gray sweater and matching pants, teamed with her now-customary $1,200 Celine boots as she returned to court for a third day
Paltrow was glamorous in a loose gray blazer and matching pants, teamed with her now-customary $1,200 Celine boots for the third day of trial. The actress, 50, made a late appearance at Park City District Court in Utah.
Paltrow is due to testify on Friday but Thursday’s proceedings will hear from Sanderson’s other daughter Shae Herath before Sanderson himself begins his account of the crash at 4pm.
Court began with another litany of complaints from her lawyer Stephen Owens over cameras in court with the attorney then becoming embroiled in an argument with Sanderson’s lawyer Robert Sykes over a request from Paltrow’s security staff.
The heavies, one of whom is a British man with a tattooed neck, had asked to bring treats to give to the court bailiffs to thank them for their help in dealing with photographers.
Yesterday, that help took the form of shielding Paltrow from the waiting snappers – making it impossible for them to take a photo of the actress leaving court.
Sykes complained that the request hadn’t been put to his team – with Judge Kent Holmberg then rejecting it as a result.
The legal saga has already seen a number of dramatic moments, with Sanderson’s lead attorney Lawrence Buhler calling the actress ‘callous’ and ‘reckless’ in his opening argument.
Owens hit back, describing Sanderson’s account as ‘total BS’ and insisting that the 76-year-old smashed into his client and not the other way round.
Court has also heard from Craig Ramon, 48, who witnessed the crash and pinned the blame for it on Paltrow, as well as radiologist Dr. Wendell Gibby who testified Sanderson sustained permanent brain injuries as a result of the ski slope pile up.
Neuropsychologist Sam Goldstein also testified Wednesday that Sanderson is ‘obsessed’ with what happened.
Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist, testified on Wednesday afternoon that Sanderson complained he was struggling with everyday life after the crash, and suffered a ‘frontal lobe injury’
Dr. Wendell Gibby showed X-rays and brain scans to the court Wednesday which he said indicated Sanderson’s injuries were caused by Paltrow slamming into him
Under cross examination, the medical expert said Sanderson had previously suffered from depression – but insisted it was ‘accelerated’ by the crash.
He also admitted Sanderson is ‘obsessed’ by the crash and believes he was ‘abandoned’ on the slopes – telling court that even an apology from Paltrow wouldn’t improve his situation.
Dr. Goldstein said: ‘He obsessed about being abandoned on the slope and what drives [his mental state] at this point is probably a combination of things, not just he was skied into and that person lacked remorse.
‘If the person who skied into him apologized, I don’t think it would help him today. ‘
He also testified that Sanderson suffered a ‘mind injury’ as a result of his brain injury that subsequently led to personality changes, anger issues and confused speech such as talking in circles.
The defense has repeatedly raised testimony by Sanderson’s younger daughter Jenny, who said she didn’t speak to her father for 13 years and who, Dr Goldstein noted, is currently having problems with him.
The doctor said any negative personality traits Sanderson previously had would have been accelerated by the brain injury.
He said Sanderson would get lost on hikes and lose track of where he was. He said that, prior to the accident, Sanderson was lively and active.
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