AMC Fights to Show Jury Frank Darabont's "Abusive" Emails in 'Walking Dead' Profits Trial

The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont
AMC/Photofest; Inset: Katy Winn/Getty Images

As AMC and The Walking Dead co-creator Frank Darabont approach trial in their dispute over his profits from the hit series, they're battling over what evidence can be presented to the jury — including whether or not the network can show the jurors Darabont's emails to colleagues.

The long-gestating fight between the network on one side and Darabont and mega-agency CAA on the other is currently set for trial in 2021.

Darabont's side wants to preclude AMC from sharing messages it claims show "Darabont's disruptive, abusive and unprofessional conduct." The network argues they're relevant because Darabont has alleged he was fired as part of a scheme to rob him of additional compensation. The emails are "crude, hostile, and generally abusive" and may be prejudicial, AMC argues, but they're not unfairly prejudicial.

"Any 'prejudice' Darabont will experience from the jury reading these emails — his own words and proof of his untenable conduct — is hardly the type of unfair prejudice that warrants exclusion," writes AMC's attorney Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. "If anything, excluding Darabont’s emails from trial will unfairly prejudice AMC, leaving a gaping hole in the record, depriving AMC of the ability to explain to the jury why it terminated Darabont after only one full season."

Darabont also asked the court to stop AMC from offering evidence regarding the WGA's lawsuit against the big talent agencies, including CAA, over packaging fees. AMC says that request is moot because it's already said it won't bring that up.

"AMC has no intention of offering or referring to evidence about the WGA lawsuit, the allegations contained in that lawsuit, or the WGA 'white paper' in that lawsuit that discusses the conflicted relationship between CAA and Darabont in this case," writes Snyder. It will, however, explain what packaging is and why an agency might negotiate its package deal before negotiating its client's deal and how that sequencing impacts the dynamics of the negotiations.

Read the full filing below.