Erin Andrews’ trial to determine damages in connection with a 2008 incident that saw a stalker record naked video of the sportscaster through a hotel room peephole is nearly at an end. Jurors in the $75 million Erin Andrews trial heard closing arguments on Friday, and deliberation is expected to begin early Monday morning.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Andrews is seeking $75 million in damages in a civil suit filed against the owners and operators of the Marriot near Vanderbilt University where she stayed in 2008 while working on assignment. The stalker who filmed Andrews through the peephole in her hotel room door, Michael David Barrett, was also named in the suit.
Barrett was convicted in an earlier criminal trial in connection with the 2008 peephole tape incident and has already completed his two-and-a-half year sentence.
During the trial’s closing arguments, which lasted nearly four hours, defense attorney Marc Dedman attempted to shift blame from the hotel to the stalker who actually recorded the peephole tape. According to local outlet NewsChannel 5, Dedman pointed to earlier testimony from Erin Andrews’ stalker, where he took personal responsibility for the criminal activity and attempted to absolve the hotel of any wrongdoing.
Erin Andrews trial attorney, Bruce Broillet, suggested that Barrett’s testimony was an attempt to sabotage the case and take revenge for the two-and-a-half years he spent behind bars by denying her a $75 million judgment.
“You shouldn’t believe a word that came out of his mouth,” Broillet said of the stalker.
Broillet also told the jury that Andrews has been “living in a nightmare” since the day she found out that naked video of her was available on the Internet.
According to People, a psychologist testified earlier in the trial that Andrews suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder in connection with the incident, and her trial attorney also brought that up during the closing arguments.
“This is a PTSD problem for which there is no post. It’s every day,” Broillet told the jury. “She knows people are looking at her on the internet every day. She gets tweets and social media and emails and cat calls at the stadium all the time.”
Although Erin Andrews’ stalker was found guilty of, and served time for, filming her in the nude through a gouged-out peephole, the civil trial alleges that management and ownership of the hotel were complicit in the act through negligence and putting profits ahead of safety. Marriott International, which took the original reservation for Barrett’s room, was initially named as a defendant in the suit but was dismissed from the case early in the trial.
The basis of the suit is that Erin Andrews alleges that Barrett asked to be placed in a room adjoining hers and that employees of the Marriott complied with the request. A Marriott desk clerk testified that she didn’t remember Barrett asking to be placed next to Andrews, but Broillet suggested otherwise in his closing arguments.
“I think we’ve proven overwhelmingly that they knew the dangers associated with telling someone that Erin Andrews was at the hotel and, secondly, putting someone next to her room without telling. Remember what Erin said: If she had been told that a strange man was next to her, she would have gotten out.”
Broillet also suggested that the defense was attempting to blame the victim or suggest that Erin Andrews somehow benefited from the naked video leaking onto the internet due to the free publicity.
“Why did they put those photos in front of you?” Broillet asked the jury. “They threw those photos of her from Dancing With the Stars to try to make you think that being naked isn’t killing her every day. Don’t let them get away with it.”
Although the suit that Erin Andrews filed last year sought $75 million in damages, her trial attorney suggested that the damages were far greater than that. According to People, Broillet asked the jury to award Andrews $1 million in damages for every single person who has, or ever will, see the naked video of her.
Earlier in the trial, an expert witness testified that nearly 17 million people had already seen the naked peephole video of Erin Andrews.
Jurors are set to begin deliberation in the Erin Andrews trial on Monday morning. Do you think that Andrews should receive $75 million, or even more, in damages for the naked video that her stalker took and uploaded to the internet, or do you agree with the defense that her career actually benefited from the exposure?
[Photo by Mark Humphrey/Pool/AP]