A judge Friday revoked the right of a hologram producer to act as his own lawyer during trial of the fourth sexual harassment case being tried against him since April, prompting him to walk out of the courtroom and not return.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court said she was taking the action because of David’s decision to record himself Thursday criticizing the trial proceedings in areas of the courthouse where he was unauthorized to do so, including hallways and just outside an elevator.
She said David’s production of the video followed his disregard of previous court orders to stop having outbursts in the courtroom and to cooperate with plaintiff Mahim Kahn’s attorneys in producing discovery.
David said he believed he was only barred from recording within the trial courtroom.
As the 51-year-old businessman left the courtroom, he accused lawyers for the 35-year-old Khan of engaging in “crimes punishable by prison.”
When he reached the hallway, David further disparaged Khan’s lawyers while walking by trial jurors waiting to be called into the courtroom. One juror later told the judge that David “made sure” that they heard him.
Before leaving, David denied any wrongdoing regarding Khan.
“I have not sexually harassed this lady,” David said.
David said his boisterous conduct is justified because even though he is not a lawyer, he still has a right to defend himself in a manner he believes is most beneficial to him. He said he believes Khan’s lawyers are trying to extort money from him.
He similarly clashed with two other judges in the three previous sexual harassment trials, despite being repeatedly fined and warned of further possible consequences.
Khan’s lawyers have denied David’s allegations and have repeatedly asked the judge to begin proceedings against the businessman that could result in a default judgment.
David’s departure left his personal defense in the trial uncertain. His companies, FilmOn TV, Hologram USA Inc. and Alki David Productions, will remain represented by lawyers Ellyn Garofalo and Amir Kiltgrad.
In her testimony, Khan told jurors she was hired in October 2014 as a production assistant by associates of David and quit about a year later. She said that he often walked up behind her unexpectedly and rubbed her breasts and private parts, prompting her to put a mirror on her desk so she could have some warning of his approach.
She said that one time while working on a Ray Charles hologram, David performed a lap dance on her without her permission and twirled one hand in the air as if he was a bronco rider at a rodeo.
Asked by her lead attorney, Nathan Goldberg, how she felt about the alleged inappropriate touching of her, Khan replied, “mortified.”
Khan said her negative work experiences caused her to become withdrawn and remain in bed in her pajamas for entire weekends at her West Hollywood apartment, ignoring texts and other contacts from friends. Her demeanor was in sharp contrast to how she lived her life before, she said.
“I’m pretty social and I love people,” Khan said.
The plaintiff, who said she is a strong believer in her Muslim precepts that include not having sex before marriage, said she felt tarnished sexually by David even though she never had any relations with him.
“I feel like I’ve taken on a Scarlet Letter or something,” she said. “I didn’t feel good about my body or myself.”
Khan said she pondered suicide, but that a friend convinced her to abandon the idea. She said she also gained 30 pounds, evidence of which was presented to jurors on a screen via photos taken of her at the time.
Khan fought back tears as she testified that she told her mother, with whom she now lives in Austin, Texas, that she had returned to California for therapy for an injured left hand, not for a sexual harassment trial.
“Culturally I can’t talk about this kind of stuff,” Khan said. “It would bring shame to my family. My parents would be very upset, it would be an embarrassment to them.”
Khan said she still ponders why she had a father who was abusive and a boss like David who was allegedly a sexual harasser and batterer.
“I feel like I must have done something to deserve these cards in life,” she said.
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.