Gwyneth Paltrow accused of ‘cover-up’ over ski crash

·3-min read

The lawyer for the retired eye doctor accusing actor Gwyneth Paltrow of causing a 2016 ski collision has alleged in closing statements of the civil trial that she planned a cover-up with a ski instructor.

Robert Sykes, an attorney for Terry Sanderson, told jurors on Thursday that he believed that Ms Paltrow and her children’s ski instructor at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, Eric Christiansen, had worked together to shift the narrative of what had happened.

Mr Sykes also attacked remarks made by Ms Paltrow that she believed for a split second the crash was a sexual assault.

He began closing arguments by saying that Ms Paltrow is a “good mother” and a “good person”. Mr Sykes said ski accidents are often “confusing” and emphasized that neither party was necessarily lying.

“I believe Gwyneth Paltrow when she says she believes Terry hit her in her back,” Mr Sykes told jurors. “The issue is, a sincere belief doesn’t make it a [reality.]”

Instead, Mr Sykes instructed jurors to focus on testimony by Craig Ramon — the only eyewitness to the collision — who said last week he saw Ms Paltrow ramming into Mr Sanderson.

The legal team for Mr Sanderson claimed that Ms Paltrow tipped Mr Christensen to say that the actor had not been reckless and to make it appear as if the incident was the fault of Mr Sanderson.

On Monday, Mr Christiansen, who was training Ms Paltrow’s children on the day of the incident, rebuffed the accusation that he had changed his account of events to cover for Ms Paltrow because she had “tipped him well”.

Asked by a lawyer for Ms Paltrow whether he falsified the report, Mr Christiansen said: “That is ridiculous”.

He added that he would have written “much more detail” if he had known there would be a lawsuit over the incident.

In his report on the day of the crash, Mr Christiansen wrote: “First thing male ski stated was that she appeared in front of her, thus admitting that he was the uphill skier. She never saw him because he came in from behind.”

Though Mr Christiansen did not see the moment of impact, he said that he witnessed its lead-up and the immediate aftermath, and did not see any sign that Mr Sanderson had been knocked unconscious.

He claimed that he heard Mr Sanderson apologise twice to Ms Paltrow and that when he asked if Mr Sanderson was all right, the skier said that Paltrow had “just appeared in front of [him]”.

He also denied accusations by Mr Sanderson that he had shouted at the skier and blamed him for the crash while he was still disoriented after the incident.

“Deer Valley takes their guests very seriously, and if an instructor has a confrontation with a customer, they don’t last,” said Mr Christiansen. “I am polite to everyone, and I was polite to Mr Sanderson.”

At one point, Mr Christiansen seemed to become annoyed with the repeated questioning of Sanderson lawyer Lawrence Buhler about whether he ever raised his voice on the course, saying: “This is getting a little silly, don’t you think?”