Jury selection began Friday for the fourth sexual harassment trial since April involving a wealthy hologram producer sued by women who once worked for him, but the judge repeated her past warnings to the defendant to refrain from boisterous conduct in the courtroom or face consequences.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court listed numerous examples of 51-year-old Alki David disobeying court directives involving discovery orders and outbursts in the courtroom. But said she was not going to set the current case filed by plaintiff Mahim Khan on a path toward a possible default judgment against David at this time, but instead let a jury decide the case.
The judge had raised the possibility of a possible default judgment after David began shouting in the courtroom on Oct. 31, when jury selection was originally set to begin. David then left the courtroom and made remarks in front of prospective jurors in the hallway that the judge found inappropriate.
One of Khan’s lawyers, Dolores Leal, said finding David in default was appropriate, arguing he had violated court orders from two other judges and was continuing to do so now with Court.
“He’s not going to listen to anyone,” Leal said.
Court said she wants all sides to have “fair access to justice,” but she warned she could take further action later if David continued attacking Khan and her attorneys, including revoking his right to act as his own attorney and excluding him from the courtroom. She said there appeared to be an almost irreversible tension between the two sides.
David arrived late for Friday’s court proceedings, saying there was a fire or “whatever it was” on Pacific Coast Highway — it was actually a fatal crash — that delayed his arrival. He told the judge he was hoping she would take more seriously his allegations of forgery in the plaintiff’s filing of the trial’s joint exhibit list, the issue that angered him when he left the courtroom on Oct. 31.
The judge said she believed the problem was caused by a clerical error.
David defended his criticisms of Khan’s attorneys, who work for the same law firm as Gloria Allred.
“I have an enormous amount of evidence to believe they are criminals,” David alleged.
At one point, David turned to where Khan was seated in the audience with one of her attorneys, Renee Mochkatel, and said, “And you, you are a terrible person.”
Khan, 35, began sobbing and quickly got up and left. David later told the judge he was referring to Mochkatel and not Khan, who later returned to the courtroom.
Khan, who filed suit in March 2017, said she began working for David and his companies, including FilmOn TV, Hologram USA Inc. and Alki David Productions Inc., as a production assistant in October 2014. She alleges he subjected her to sexually oriented comments and conduct in the workplace, including performing a lap dance on her in front of a company client.
The Khan trial comes less than a month after 36-year-old Lauren Reeves won more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages against David in another sexual harassment case. Court said she had taken notice of the minute orders in that case, as well as the other two trials involving David this year when considering whether to start the Khan case toward a possible default judgment.
Attorney Ellyn Garofalo has represented David and his companies in two of the previous trials and his firms only in the third trial. She is serving in the latter role in the Khan trial.
In April, 42-year-old Chasity Jones was awarded $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages against David. She later agreed to a reduction of about $445,000 after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael Ongkeko found the amount of out-of-pocket damages awarded her was excessive.
David has appealed the Jones verdict, and Garofalo said she expects it will be overturned.
On Sept. 3, Judge Christopher Lui declared a mistrial in the case of Jones’ co-plaintiff, 32-year-old Elizabeth Taylor, after jurors deadlocked 8-4 in favor of David.
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.
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