A billionaire hologram producer who made courtroom outbursts during two previous sexual harassment trials involving former employees did so again Tuesday in the trial of yet another woman who alleges she was exposed to his alleged misconduct in the workplace, yelling at the plaintiff in the middle of her testimony before leaving the courtroom.
“You were a lousy writer,” Alki David told Lauren Reeves as she was about to describe the incident that she maintains convinced her to leave one of David’s companies, Hologram USA, for good.
David told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green before leaving the courtroom that he would be available “if you need me.”
Green did not try to discourage the 51-year-old businessman from departing, saying only, “We’ll see you later, Mr. David.”
The judge then called a recess in the testimony of the 35-year-old comedy writer, who began to weep after witnessing David’s conduct.
“Well, that didn’t take long,” Green told the lawyers later out of the presence of the jury.
Two of Green’s colleagues on the bench, Judges Rafael Ongkeko and Christopher Lui, also witnessed similar behavior by David during trials of other suits against the businessman in their courtrooms. That information had been passed on to Green by the lawyers in the case.
Green said he believed it was better to let David leave the courtroom rather than try to engage him. He said it may be inevitable, however, that some form of “progressive discipline” is needed if David has any further outbursts.
David had only one shouting incident in Ongkeko’s presence and left the courtroom for good immediately afterward. In that trial, plaintiff Chasity Jones won a total of $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages in April, but she later agreed to a reduction of about $445,000 after Ongkeko found the amount of out-of-pocket damages awarded her was excessive.
Lui fined David a total of $9,500 for multiple outbursts and ultimately banished him from the courtroom near the end of the trial of Elizabeth Taylor’s case, in which the jury deadlocked 8-4 in her favor of the plaintiff on Sept. 3.
Reeves had two stints working as an independent contractor for David, one in 2015 at FilmOn TV and another in 2016 at Hologram USA. She said she came back the second time to pitch an idea to him because she was interested in working with holograms.
When Reeves resumed her testimony after the break, she said David had just come back from a lengthy absence in September 2016 when he called her into his Beverly Hills office to talk about some shows on which she had been working. In addition to hologram work, David’s business does live television streaming with show hosts. Reeves was one of the hosts at the time.
David closed the window blinds and the door, dropped his pants and then forced Reeves’ head toward his private parts, she said. He then opened the door and called a sales executive into the office, who reacted by asking, “What the (epithet)?,” according to Reeves.
David then slammed the door in the executive’s face, she said.
Reeves said she tried without success to break the grip David had on her head.
“I felt like I didn’t have any control,” she said. “He’s strong and he just held my head there.”
Reeves said she became even more frightened when David, after releasing her, said he wanted her to come with him his suite at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel.
“I thought he was going to rape me or just have violent sex with me there,” she said.
Reeves said that after she was allowed to leave David’s office, she talked with two co-workers about the encounter. One implored her to go ahead with a planned television show she was scheduled to co-host that day, Reeves said.
Reeves said she did the show so as not to let her co-worker down, but that during a commercial break, David crawled under the table at which she and the co-host were sitting and grabbed one of her ankles.
Reeves said she left the building that day and never returned to work. Asked by her lawyer, Nathan Goldberg, if she was fired, Reeves replied, “I was assaulted and I quit.”
Reeves said she has moved four times since quitting David’s companies out of fear he could find her. She said she has avoided relationships with men the past three years because she does not know if she can trust them after what David allegedly did to her.
“I don’t give off a vibe like I’m available,” Reeves said. “I don’t remember if I know how to flirt.”
Reeves said she has had various writing jobs since leaving Hologram USA, most recently on MTV’s “Ex on the Beach.” She said she also wrote a book about The Oregon Trail computer games.
She said professional help and the passing of the years have helped her cope with her bad memories of working for David.
“I think what he did to me destroyed me after it happened and it took a lot of time and therapy to get back to semi-normal,” 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.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: