Gwyneth Paltrow’s US trial helped “humanize celebrities,” says jury presiding judge


Wyneth Paltrow’s high-profile US trial helped jurors “humanize celebrities,” the case’s foreman said.

Last week, the Oscar-winning actress won the civil lawsuit brought by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson over a skiing accident in 2016.

Ms. Paltrow was cleared of all blame over the incident, which took place at the Deer Valley resort Utahwhich left Mr. Sanderson with several broken ribs and head injuries.

Jurors deliberated for just over two hours before reaching a verdict in her favor and awarding her $1 in damages.

Speaking to Court TV, the jury’s foreman, Don, said he had appreciated hearing the actress talk about her childhood experiences skiing with her father.

“(The process) was cool to see how it works because you know, you look at Law and Order and you look at these other things and they’re so scripted and so perfect and then obviously that’s not the way this process went,” he said.

“The whole experience made celebrities a little more human to me because (Ms. Paltrow) told the story of skiing with her dad — that’s what the mountains are about for all those of us who love to ski and snowboard and do what we do.”

Don said he focused on the body language of both Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Sanderson as they testified.

He told Court TV that Ms Paltrow’s recollection of the incident, in which she said she briefly wondered if she was being attacked, showed a “genuine human reaction”.

“I hope she never had negative things like that, but that will be a reaction a real person would have,” he said.

The whole experience kind of humanized celebrities a little bit more for me

“It just made her a little bit more human to me because… if she ever fell victim to something like that, it could be a reaction that people would have.

“So that just seemed like a legit thing that you might think(and) for half a second… again, it just made it more realistic to me that that was her first reaction.”

Don also said he was not convinced by Mr Sanderson’s evidence, noting that he “liked” being praised and complimented.

He said “little things” had helped him make his decision, including Mr Sanderson’s lawyers discussing how much money they could make on the case.

“You can’t say ‘the first thing we talked about was how much potential money we’re getting’ and then tell us all the time it’s not about the money,” he said.

“It’s like of course it’s about the money guys, that’s not what we’re here for residence for humanity.”

Don told Court TV that in the end he had done “what I think is right” when making a decision on the verdict.

“You guys arbitrarily apply laws to different people in different ways… (but) I said, ‘I have to go home and sleep with myself at night,'” he said.

“So I’m going to do what I think is right in my heart… but I want to be honest, and be right with everyone. All we want in life is honesty.”

Ms Paltrow said she was “satisfied with the outcome” of the trial after its conclusion on Thursday after two weeks of evidence in Utah.

In a statement posted to her Instagram story, she said she felt “admitting to a false claim compromised my integrity”, and thanked the jurors for their “thoughtfulness” in handling the case.