'Desperate Housewives' tried to destroy evidence, tipster suggests
A lawyer for Nicollette Sheridan said Monday he had received a phone message suggesting a systematic attempt by officials at “Desperate Housewives” to destroy evidence related to the actress’ wrongful-termination lawsuit.
On the eve of closing arguments in Sheridan’s trial in L.A. Superior Court, her attorney told the judge that a caller claiming to be an employee of Touchstone Television Productions made the allegations in a voicemail Sunday.
The lawyer, Mark Baute, played Judge Elizabeth Allen White a recording of the message in which the male caller recalled mistakenly receiving an email meant for show producers that referenced “having IT come in and wipe clean the hard drives” of correspondence related to the actress departure from the show.
“I’m a real low-level employee there and I shouldn’t have got that email,” the caller said, adding, “There was definitely a conspiracy to cover up the correspondence…in regard to Nicollette.”
The judge said she would hold a hearing Tuesday on whether Sheridan’s lawyers can call the tipster as at witness.
Outside court, Baute said he had talked to the man, whom he declined to identify, for 45 minutes and found him credible. Adam Levin, an attorney for the creator of “Desperate Housewives” and its studio, expressed concern about “going down a rabbit hole” with witnesses coming forward late in the trial.
Sheridan contends show creator Marc Cherry killed off her character in retaliation after she complained he had hit her in the head during a 2008 rehearsal.
Cherry has testified that he only tapped her on the head to give stage direction and had decided to write her out of the show for creative reasons months earlier.
When testimony got underway Monday, jurors heard from Cherry’s former assistant who corroborated his boss’ version of the incident with Sheridan.
Jason Ganzel told jurors that Cherry was demonstrating how to act out a scene when he tapped Sheridan on the head.
"She was stunned, and said something to the effect of, 'You can't touch me,' or 'You can't put your hands on me,'" he said.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Nicollette Sheridan arrives in court earlier this month. Credit: Toby Canham/Getty Images