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Gwyneth Paltrow trial live: Sleuth uncovers group chat as trial hears Terry Sanderson had brain damage before crash

Shae Sanderson accuses Gwyneth Paltrow of ‘ignoring’ her father in mountain ski crash

Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial over a skiing accident has entered its second week.

The incident took place on the slopes of Flagstaff Mountain, part of the luxury Deer Valley Resort near Park City, Utah, on 26 February 2016 when Ms Paltrow and retired optometrist Dr Terry Sanderson collided on a beginner’s course known as the Bandana Run. Ms Paltrow claimed it was Mr Sanderson who plowed into her.

Mr Sanderson, 76, alleges he was left with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.

Last week, lawyers for Ms Paltrow argued that retired optometrist Mr Sanderson deleted GoPro video of the collision because it would unequivocally disprove his claims that Ms Paltrow rammed into him.

The rumoured footage was mentioned by Mr Sanderson’s daughter after he emailed her a link to his ski discussion forum on the Meetup website — she later testified she believed such video probably existed but had not seen it herself. Ms Paltrow’s attorney Steven Owens said his team had attempted to open the link but it was purposely faulty.

But tech investigator Michael Fletcher told CourtTV it only took two minutes to access the information in the link. While the link did not direct to the infamous GoPro video, it did reveal several exchanges between Mr Sanderson and witness Craig Ramon.

“They kept repeating, ‘It’s the most important piece of evidence,’ and they couldn’t figure it out,” Mr Fletcher said. “They [just] didn’t know how to open the link … Honestly, it’s comical how easy it was, I can’t believe they didn’t do this already. It’s almost a joke … [It was] just common sense.”

Mr Sanderson filed for damages in January 2019 and is seeking $300,000 in compensation for the injuries he sustained, prompting the actress to file a countersuit in which she asks for a symbolic $1 should she win and for her legal expenses to be covered.


Jury is out for today

Today’s proceedings are done. We’ll be back tomorrow for what seems likely to be the final day of the trial, and we’ll have plenty more news and recaps overnight.

Io Dodds30 March 2023 00:22


No further questions, your honour

Mr Sanderson’s testimony is now over, and it looks like the trial is about to follow.

With the judge imposing strict time restrictions on each team’s testimony, Paltrow’s lawyers said they had no further witnesses and were ready to rest their case.

There is apparently still some testimony to come from the plaintiffs tomorrow, and some discussions still to have about specific exhibits.

Io Dodds29 March 2023 23:58


Lawyers turn microscope on Sanderson’s memory of crash

We’ve just had a protracted back and forth between the opposing teams about Mr Sanderson’s recollection of the crash itself.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Mr Sanderson said he had been gliding slowly down the hill before the silence was broken by a scream, and that there was no one in front of him.

He said he had called the incident a “hit and run” because “there was no one there when [he] woke up – no one except an angry man”.

Asked if he had been sking cautiously, he said: “I’ve had a long time to think about whether I want to be dangerous or cautious, and I choose cautious, yes. I don’t take chances.”

Mr Owens questioned him in detail about how he was sure there was nobody ahead of him, whether he had been concerned to avoid hitting a person on his left, and whether he was blind in one eye.

Mr Owens also attempted to poke holes in Mr Sanderson’s testimony about his own physical characteristics, questioning him on statements he had made about his height and weight.

Io Dodds29 March 2023 23:53


‘I struggled during those trips’

Now Mr Sanderson’s own lawyer Kristin VanOrman is questioning him again, seeking to reframe his post-crash travels as the efforts of an injured man to rebuild his life.

“Have you always travelled in your life?” she asked. Mr Sanderson said he did, at least since retirement. “Have you every told this jury, or tried to insinuate in this trial, that you couldn’t travel?” Absolutely not.

Asked why he kept travelling after the crash, Mr Sanderson said he was told by neurologists and a cognitive therapists that getting back to his routine as soon as possible would help him heal.

“Looking back on that time, I was determined to prove I didn’t have any mental issues,” he said. “Everything I did was to stamp that in my record, that this guy is trying hard.”

But, he went on, “I just found that it was like flipping a switch. It’s like, I look back and it was the bright side, and now I’m in the dark side. And my volunteering stopped, so a lot of my self esteem stopped.”

He said he was “chewed out” by someone he knew for 15 years because he could no longer do his volunteering job.

Despite the smiling social media photos, he said he “struggled” during many of those trips. “I couldn’t go by myself anymore, and I found that out the hard way when [my girlfriend] Robin decided that she didn’t like me anymore after five years.”

A Facebook post by Terry Sanderson shown in court

(Terry Sanderson via Law & Crime)

Io Dodds29 March 2023 23:47


Sanderson confronted about travelling the world after ski crash

Steven Owens is now bombarding Mr Sanderson with questions about his extensive travel adventures in the years following the ski crash.

Since 2016, according to exhibits shown on screen, Mr Sanderson has been to the Netherlands three times, to Morocco twice, to Thailand, Peru, Costa Rica, Germany, Switerland, France, Italy, Belgium, and the US states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

“Did you go to Peru?” asked Owens in rapid succession. “Walk the Golden trail? […] Did you do a zipline? […] Did you go to Europe? […] Did you go to the Netherlands three times? […] Rode bikes? Did bus tours?”

Mr Sanderson looked uncomfortable as he answered positively to each question.

The court sees Facebook posts and photographs showing Mr Sanderson on on hikes with his girlfriend, at an escape room, travelling through scenic European towns, visiting the Frankfurt International Auto Show, doing Zumba, mini-golf, and more, all after his accident.

“Looks like you have one of those cool backpacks with water [in it], is that true?” asks the lawyer. “Yes, true,” says Mr Sanderson.

At times he disputed specific things, such as a picture appearing to show that he had been kayaking (he said he was merely trying on a helmet). At others, he did not answer yes directly but offered details suggesting that his role had not been as active as his photos or social media posts implied.

Io Dodds29 March 2023 23:29


Terry Sanderson confronted by Ms Paltrow’s attorneys

At a press conference in 2019, he said that moments before the collision, he “heard this just hysterical screaming like … King Kong in the jungle or something”.

When asked about his remarks on Thursday, Mr Sanderson said that he did not mean to compare Ms Paltrow to King Kong.

Andrea Blanco29 March 2023 23:13


Ms Paltrow’s attorneys complaint about alleged violations of decorum orders

Steven Owens told Judge Kent Holmberg that a CourtTV videographer had their camera pointing directly at Ms Paltrow.

Judge Holmberg ordered the journalist to redirect the camera to whoever is using the lectern.

Andrea Blanco29 March 2023 23:09


Dr Askenazi says Mr Sanderson only sustained a mild traumatic brain injury after ski crash


Andrea Blanco29 March 2023 22:55


Neuropsychology and neuroforensics expert Dr Galit Askenazi testifies for the defence

Dr Askenazi says that after going through Mr Sanderson’s medical records, she realised he had stopped taking Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that had been prescribed to him, right after the 2016 ski collision.

“I found it significant becuse the records beforehand show that he had always had a rebound when taken off his medication

“So some of his reported mood changes in the weeks that followed could have been attributed to not being appropriately treated”

Andrea Blanco29 March 2023 22:23


Expert says Mr Sanderson not malingering, but might be unconsciously exaggerating his symptoms because of anxiety

“Are you suggesting that Terry is faking these symptoms?” Mr Buhler asked.

“No, there is no evidence that he’s faking the symptoms. He’s genuinely distressed,” Dr Eastvold replied.

Dr Eastvold testified that Mr Sanderson believed the symptoms to be real, also known as a process by the name of “somatization.”

Andrea Blanco29 March 2023 21:32

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