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Scott D. Pierce: Gwyneth Paltrow ski trial juror speaks in Max documentary

But, for the most part, ‘Gwyneth vs. Terry’ is pretty unremarkable.

FILE - Gwyneth Paltrow speaks with retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, left, as she walks out of the courtroom following the reading of the verdict in their lawsuit trial, on March 30, 2023, in Park City, Utah. In a judgement published on Saturday, April 29, 2023, the court affirmed the jury's verdict finding Paltrow not at fault for a 2016 collision with Terry Sanderson and said Sanderson would not be required to pay Paltrow's attorney fees and had agreed not to appeal the verdict. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool, File)

The quickie documentary “Gwyneth vs Terry: The Ski Crash Trial” — which starts streaming Monday on Max — is pretty much what you might expect. News footage from the trial. Talking heads discussing the trial. Speculation, some of it completely unfounded, from those talking heads.

But the hour does include a few things you wouldn’t have seen even if you watched the many, many hours of the trial that streamed live back in March: Interviews with Terry Sanderson’s ex-partner and a doctor who treated him; footage of Gwyneth Paltrow acting badly; and, most importantly, an interview with one of the jurors explaining how they arrived at their verdict.

The hour recounts the legal battle between Paltrow, the Oscar winner, and Sanderson, the retired optometrist. He said she ran into him on the ski slopes at Deer Valley, causing him serious injuries. She said, no, he ran into her, causing some bruising and costing her half a day of skiing. Spoiler alert: Paltrow won.

Instead of employing a narrator, “Gwyneth vs. Terry” employs various journalists (some who were there, some who were not) along with legal “experts” who had nothing to do with the case to tell the story and comment on it. (Sanderson, Paltrow and their lawyers are not interviewed.) The comments of juror Samantha Imrie are the most interesting:

• She says that, initially, witness Craig Ramone — who said he saw Paltrow run into Sanderson — “seemed credible. We were all a little bit excited, thinking, ‘Why do we need to hear anything else if only one person saw the collision?’”

Terry Sanderson, the Utah man suing Gwyneth Paltrow, walks into the courtroom, Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Park City, Utah. He accuses her of crashing into him on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

• She makes much of Paltrow’s testimony that “for a split second” she thought she was being sexually assaulted when Sanderson collided with her: “That’s a different kind of thing where you’re going to always be traumatized by that.”

• She praises Paltrow’s courtroom demeanor: “Gwyneth Paltrow did not seem dismissive to Terry’s injuries or anything caused by the accident. However, she was very clear that this accident was not her fault.”

• She condemns Ramone’s later testimony: “Craig Ramone became very flustered in his cross-examination. A lot of his answers to questions were changing.”

• She praises Eric Christiansen, the ski instructor Paltrow hired who testified Sanderson ran into her: “His story was consistent. He never claimed he saw the accident.”

• She makes much of the photos Sanderson posted to Facebook in the years after the collision: “The picture [that was painted of Sanderson] — this man that was unable to travel, unable to function, didn’t have friends — yet he’s traveling the world. It didn’t add up.”

Attorney Steve Owens takes the court through his presents his closing argument, arguing his client Gwyneth Paltrow did not run into the 76-year-old man suing her, Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Park City, Utah. Terry Sanderson accuses Paltrow of crashing into him on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

• She’s clearly impressed by an animated video created to tell Paltrow’s version of the story: “The animation was demonstrative evidence, meaning that we couldn’t really consider that as evidence, but it did help the jury to just vision (sic) what we had already thought was happening.”

• She says she felt a “heavy weight” as she had to “determine who was lying and who was telling the truth.” (It seemingly does not occur to her that both Paltrow and Sanderson could be telling what they believed to be the truth — that neither was “lying.”)

• She explains that the jury deliberated for only about two hours because “everyone was on the same page.” And, she added, “It was almost black and white at the end, that there was no way the collision could’ve happened in the way that Terry Sanderson was saying that it happened.”

• She, once again, points to those Facebook photos. “Terry Sanderson lost a lot of credibility when I saw the images of him on vacation. … We could clearly see this was a man who was still enjoying his life.”

It clearly never occurred to her (or the other jurors) that Facebook posts are often not a true representation of life. A whole lot of people post smiling images of themselves, even in situations that are not altogether happy.

And neuropsychiatrist Alina Fong, who treated Sanderson, says in an interview, “It was very disheartening as a healthcare provider to see that recommendations that I provided to him as part of his ongoing recovery [were] turned around in a way and used against him as part of an attack.” She told him to travel — with a companion because of his ongoing symptoms — as “part of his recovery.”

There are a few other things of note to those obsessed with the case.

Gwyneth Paltrow and her attorney Steve Owens smile after the reading of the verdict in her lawsuit trial, Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Park City, Utah. Paltrow won her court battle over a 2016 ski collision at a posh Utah ski resort after a jury decided Thursday that the movie star wasn’t at fault for the crash. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

• Paltrow’s lawyer, Steve Owens, who looked bad winning the trial, looks bad in “Gwyneth vs. Terry.” One of the talking heads describes Paltrow’s defense team as “absolutely vicious,” and “no more vicious than when it came to Terry’s daughters. Essentially, they turned this guy’s family story against him.”

Sanderson’s ex-girlfriend, Karlene Davidson, says, “When they turned his daughters against each other, … it broke my heart. That was unfair. That was unkind. It was not an accurate description at all of what was really happening with that family.”

• There’s a clip of Paltrow telling Jimmy Kimmel how accident-prone she is. And there’s an appalling TMZ video of Paltrow on a Vespa-type scooter pulling out in front of and nearly being hit by a school bus — with her then-9-year-old daughter sitting right behind her.

The judge didn’t let those clips into the ski trial.

• Davidson and others wonder if Sanderson could have gotten a fair trial in Park City. “I believe that the jury had to be slanted in their opinions,” Davidson says. “They were skiers, and part of the Deer Valley community. Park City didn’t want to lose their celebrity status of stars coming in.”

And Imrie herself feeds that narrative, saying, “Our jobs are all related to skiing.”

This being TV, there is, of course, plenty of speculation. Some of the talking heads question the lawyers’ trial tactics and the verdict. They question how Paltrow’s wealth — which paid for the animation that clearly influenced at least one juror — gave her an unfair advantage. They questioned if Paltrow’s celebrity status helped or hurt her. They opined about how the verdict repaired her image.

Nobody points out that she’s an actress, and her behavior in the courtroom could have been acting, with much rehearsal.

That’s my own speculation.

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