Lawyers for a British tourist who claims he was badly hurt taking part in an illusion by Las Vegas Strip headliner David Copperfield told a judge on Wednesday that they’ve found three other people who were injured in Copperfield shows over the years.
The three women came forward after hearing that Copperfield and the show’s executive producer, Chris Kenner, denied knowing about anyone being hurt over the period of more than 15 years that the trick was performed in Las Vegas and other cities, said Adam Deutsch, a lawyer for plaintiff Gavin Cox and his wife.
“They felt compelled to testify because of the dishonest stuff that was put out by the defense team,” Deutsch said. “Mr. Copperfield testified that nobody has ever gotten hurt, ever.”
In contentious arguments outside the presence of the jury, Copperfield’s lawyer, Elaine Fresch, complained that defense legal teams were unfairly “sandbagged” during the ongoing trial by the bid to add last-minute witnesses.
“They’re saying things that I’ve never heard about,” Fresch said. “Mr. Copperfield and Mr. Kenner stated they are unaware, they have no knowledge, of other injuries.”
Copperfield and Kenner testified they did not learn that Cox claimed he had been injured until they were sued a year later.
Deutsch said the women heard reports of earlier testimony due to Nevada state court Judge Mark Denton’s rulings keeping proceedings open to the public despite defense contentions that Copperfield’s proprietary performance secrets would be disclosed.
One woman was hurt in 2002 during a performance in Seattle, Deutsch said, and another was hurt in a fall in June 2013 at about the same spot at the MGM Grand resort that Cox claims he was hurt five months later. The third woman would testify that she knows about someone who was injured at another show, Deutsch said.
Denton ruled that before they testify, the women should be questioned under oath by defense lawyers for Copperfield, the MGM Grand and several other corporate entities facing civil damages claims.
“Even then, I’m not saying that just because a deposition is taken they’ll be allowed to testify,” the judge said.
Trial resumed on Wednesday with a former stagehand testifying about his work on the Copperfield show.
Cox has said he fell after being hurried by stagehands through an alleyway coated with a powdery residue near a trailer-sized trash bin. The United Kingdom citizen from Kent claims to have amassed more than $400,000 in medical expenses due to lasting brain and body injuries.
Copperfield spent Tuesday testifying. Under the pre-arranged trial schedule, he is due to return to the witness stand next Monday.
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