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Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stand in a Utah court for a trial over a 2016 ski crash

Gwyneth Paltrow enters the courtroom for her trial, Friday, March 24, 2023, in Park City, Utah, where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs.
Rick Bowmer
/
AP
Gwyneth Paltrow enters the courtroom for her trial, Friday, March 24, 2023, in Park City, Utah, where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand in a Park City courtroom on Friday to testify in a trial over a 2016 skiing crash in Utah.

Paltrow is accused of crashing into Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist — causing several serious injuries and then abandoning him, while they were both skiing on a beginner slope at Deer Valley Resort seven years ago.

Paltrow took the stand just before 3 p.m. local time and was questioned by Sanderson's attorney, Kristin VanOrman. She is the latest to testify in the trial since it first began four days ago.

The actress and Goop founder said on the day of the collision with Sanderson she was skiing with her two kids, now-husband Brad Falchuk and his two children. The collision took place on the first day of their trip to the resort, Paltrow said.

Testifying that the crash shocked her at first, Paltrow said that she was worried she was being violated.

"There was a body pressing against me and a very strange grunting noise," she said. "My brain was trying to make sense of what was happening."

In her testimony, the actress said that she and her children were taking a ski lesson on the day of the crash. Paltrow repeated her claim that Sanderson had skied directly into her back and caused the accident.

"He struck me in the back, yes, that's exactly what happened," she said, as attorneys read back her version of the events from a deposition.

Gwyneth Paltrow sits in court during an objection by her attorney during her trial, Friday, March 24, 2023, in Park City, Utah. Paltrow is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs.
Rick Bowmer / AP
/
AP
Gwyneth Paltrow sits in court during an objection by her attorney during her trial, Friday, March 24, 2023, in Park City, Utah. Paltrow is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs.

Sanderson first filed the lawsuit in 2019, nearly three years after the collision took place on the mountainside. Since then, he claims the accident left him with numerous injuries, including a brain injury, four broken ribs and emotional damage. He also claimed Paltrow left the scene without giving him her name or contact information, nor did she call for help.

Paltrow filed a countersuit against Sanderson in 2019, claiming that he skied into her.

In an initial version of the lawsuit filed, Sanderson sought $3.1 million in damages, KSL.com reported. However, in May 2022, Third District Judge Kent Holmberg dismissed some of Sanderson's claims against Paltrow, deciding that it was not a "hit-and-run ski crash," according to the news outlet.

Paltrow filed her own countersuit about a month after Sanderson in 2019. In the suit, she recounted the events of the day, blaming him for the crash.

She described Sanderson being uphill from her and her family when he suddenly plowed into her back, delivering a "full body blow." According to Paltrow, she was angry with Sanderson and he apologized.

Both parties want the other to cover their legal costs. Sanderson is now seeking $300,000 in damages. In return, Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages.

As the trial continues into next week, Paltrow's team is expected to call to the stand several witnesses including medical experts, ski instructors and her two children, Moses and Apple.

The trial is set to resume Monday morning and will be live-streamed on YouTube.

NPR's Vanessa Romo contributed to this report. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a reporter on the Newsdesk covering both race & identity and breaking news.