11:10am PT by Alex Ben Block
'Desperate Housewives' Trial: Sheridan Lawyer Hammers ABC in Closing Argument
Nicollette Sheridan's lead lawyer told the jury in the Desperate Housewives wrongful-termination case Wednesday that ABC and Touchstone Television conspired to create a false record that would justify improperly killing off the actress in retaliation for her complaints about being hit by series creator Marc Cherry.
In a rousing closing argument delivered to a packed courthouse, Mark Baute laid out his theory that Cherry, ABC and Touchstone decided to eliminate Sheridan's character only after her altercation with Cherry, not before, as several ABC witnesses have claimed in testimony during the two-week trial.
"Everyone at Touchstone was in the loop helping orchestrate the record," Baute told the jury. "They got together to create a record of justifiable firing."
Baute specifically countered testimony from several show insiders who said the decision to kill off Sheridan was made during a meeting in May 2008, months before the September altercation between Sheridan and Cherry. He said the decision could not have occurred before October and that the jury should not gloss over the fact that a woman was hit by a man.
The closing argument comes a day after Sheridan's case was dealt a blow by L.A. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White, who dismissed Sheridan's battery claim against Cherry. The $6 million wrongful-termination claim remains, however.
More to come from the courthouse.