Actress Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand on Friday afternoon, telling a Utah jury that she was not the one to blame for a ski accident seven years ago.
Paltrow is being sued by Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, who alleges that she crashed into him at the upscale Deer Valley Resort, reports ‘Variety’.
In her testimony, Paltrow described watching her children ski downhill when Sanderson abruptly crashed into her from behind.
“I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart,” she said. “And then there was a body pressing against me.”
She said that Sanderson was making a “strange grunting noise,” and that she initially thought it might be a sexual assault.
“My brain was trying to make sense of what was happening,” she said. “I thought, ‘Is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted?'”
She said that she was ‘very upset’ and angry, and that she yelled at him, “You skied directly into my f***ing back!”
The trial began on Tuesday. Sanderson is also expected to take the stand to give his side of the story.
Sanderson alleges that Paltrow crashed into him, and that he was left with a concussion, four broken ribs and a lasting brain injury.
Sanderson’s attorney, Kristin VanOrman, asked Paltrow if she had ever inquired whether Sanderson was OK.
“When you’re the victim of a crash, your psychology is not necessarily thinking about the person who perpetrated it,” Paltrow said.
Sanderson originally sought $3.1 million, but his claim was pared back to $300,000 after a judge ruled that he could not seek punitive damages. Paltrow has countersued for $1, plus attorneys’ fees.
Strangely, Paltrow’s countersuit brought Taylor Swift into her testimony, as VanOrman questioned if Paltrow got the idea to sue for $1 from Swift’s legal battle against radio DJ David Mueller in 2017. Paltrow said that was not the case.
“Are you good friends with Taylor Swift?” VanOrman asked, to which Paltrow replied: “I would not say we’re good friends. We are friendly. I’ve taken my kids to one of her concerts before, but we don’t talk very often.”
VanOrman then took it one step farther by asking if Paltrow had given Swift “intimate gifts for Christmas,” but the judge said Paltrow did not have to answer that question.
Under Utah law, the skier who is downhill has the right of way. Both Paltrow and Sanderson have claimed that they were downhill.
Paltrow’s lawyers have called Sanderson’s account “utter b.s.,” and alleged that he is seeking to take advantage of Paltrow’s wealth and celebrity to secure a payday.
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