In yet another courtroom outburst, a wealthy businessman involved in a fourth sexual harassment and battery trial since April called a judge “ridiculous” Monday for admonishing him against making facial expressions during the testimony of his accuser.
Plaintiff Mahim Khan had been on the witness stand throughout the morning session when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court issued her warning to 51-year-old Alki David just after the jury was excused for the lunch break.
David said he did not understand why the judge was concerned about the nature of his facial demeanor when, according to the defendant, Khan’s lawyers have been involved in acts that are “punishable by prison” in bringing the case against him.
“Is this where we are in America?” David asked. “These people and this lady are putting on a conspiracy of lies and you’re telling me about my facial expressions? You’re ridiculous. I’m leaving.”
The judge implored David to stay in the courtroom, but he left anyway. Court’s assistant told her a few moments later that David was shouting in the hallway about the judge’s remarks about his courtroom expressions and that two jurors could overhear him.
After the lunch break, the judge rejected a recommendation by Khan’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, that David be excluded from the courtroom for the rest of the trial, saying she was reluctant to bar him altogether from a public forum.
The judge also said she had no authority to ban David from the courthouse, even though that could prevent him from making inappropriate remarks in front of jurors in the hallway. She said doing taking either action would raise too many constitutional action for the parties and the public.
David did not return for the afternoon session of trial.
On Friday, Court revoked David’s right to act as his own attorney, saying that his recording of a video of himself in areas of the courthouse where such activity is forbidden was the culmination of his disregard of repeated court orders to provide discovery to Khan’s attorneys and behave himself in the courtroom.
David came to court Monday morning without an attorney. Before his latest outburst, the judge said she would hold a hearing Tuesday morning on whether David’s self-representation status should remain revoked.
David’s companies, FilmOn TV, Hologram USA Inc. and Alki David Productions, are also defendants in the lawsuit and are represented by lawyers Ellyn Garofalo and Amir Kiltgrad.
Judges Christopher Lui and Terry Green also repeatedly warned David about his courtroom conduct during previous trials of similar suits brought against him by other women who once worked for him.
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.
The 35-year-old plaintiff said that while she was 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.
Under questioning by Garofalo, Khan said she did not immediately complain about any of the incidents and instead tried without success to find a new job. She also said she did not know when she was hired by David’s companies that he was known for producing television streaming that Garafalo said in her opening statement was meant to shock people.
Khan said she resigned in about October 2015 because she could no longer cope with working for David, who 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: