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'Desperate Housewives' judge deals blow to Sheridan's case

March 14, 2012 |  7:33 am

A jury could begin deliberations Wednesday in actress Nicollette Sheridan's case against "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and Touchstone Television Productions.

Jurors must decide whether Cherry's decision to kill off Sheridan's character, Edie Britt, was retaliation for her allegation against him.

When jurors do get the case, they will have one less issue to decide. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White threw out Sheridan's claim of battery over an on-set incident in which the actress said Cherry struck her. White said there was not enough evidence to support the claim.

On Tuesday, the court dealt with a last-minute witness. A construction coordinator responsible for building the show's Wisteria Lane sets took the stand on behalf of Sheridan and recounted receiving an email on his work computer that he said discussed a plan to wipe hard drives clean of information relevant to her wrongful termination lawsuit.

Michael Reinhart testified that he had no contact with the writers or actors on the show and believed he had been copied on the email in error. He said he immediately deleted it.

"I felt it wasn't intended for me; it wasn't my business," he said.

But, he told jurors, he remain disturbed by the message and contacted a lawyer for Sheridan on Sunday as her trial neared its end.

"I was trying to bring the truth out," he said.

Reinhart told Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White that the email had been "gnawing at" him and that he was losing sleep over what he had described to Sheridan's lawyer as "a definite conspiracy." But he acknowledged that he could not recall the specific language of the email, its sender or the other recipients. He said he remembered only Sheridan's name and certain words including "IT" "delete" and "hard drive."

Asked by a lawyer for Cherry and Touchstone, Adam Levin, if it was "possible you misunderstood the email," the witness replied, "Yes, it's possible."

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-- Harriet Ryan

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