A judge Thursday excused four prospective jurors in a case alleging sexual harassment by a hologram producer after the quartet said they did not believe they could be impartial based on the businessman’s outburst in court Wednesday.
The jurors excused by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Christopher Lui had all witnessed the conduct of Alki David as the parties tried to impanel a jury to hear plaintiff Elizabeth Taylor’s case.
Wednesday’s outburst by the 51-year-old David left many prospective jurors shaking their heads as Lui called a break in the proceedings and told the casually dressed David that one more incident would result in his setting a hearing on a possible contempt finding against the billionaire. Lui has repeatedly warned David, who is representing himself, to stop lashing out against Taylor and her attorney Lisa Bloom. David has often used profanity in the courtroom while doing so.
“I’m concerned that my bias against him is so strong that I’d be against him no matter what evidence is presented,” a middle-aged male juror who was excused said.
Bloom said David touched one of her arms during his outburst, but David replied, “She actually walked into me.”
Bloom, who said she was not moving when her arm was struck, told the judge that those jurors chosen to hear the case should be able to consider David’s courtroom conduct during deliberations.
Other jurors who are still prospective members of the panel also told the judge that it would be hard for them to remain neutral.
“I’m appalled by yesterday,” one male juror said. “I found it very unprofessional.”
A female juror said that her first impressions of people are important to her and that it disturbed her to see how David acted “in a very professional setting” such as a courtroom.
“I don’t think I could be fair,” she said.
The judge also granted another juror’s request to leave the case after she told him that as a Scientologist, she does not believe in the work of psychiatrists who use medication to treat patients. Therefore, the juror said, she would be skeptical of any such testimony presented on Taylor’s behalf.
Taylor, 32, was a witness in the separate trial in April of co-plaintiff Chasity Jones’ case against David. She testified her former boss once picked her up by the ankles and walked her upside down around the office, exposing her underwear. Jones was awarded $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages in April.
David was behind the hologram technology that brought slain rapper Tupac Shakur to Coachella in 2012 and saw the late Michael Jackson moonwalk at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.