The LA Times’ Glenn Bunting continues to report on developments from the Clive Cussler/Philip Anschutz dogfight over the mess that was the 2005 movie SAHARA. Karen Baldwin, executive producer of the movie, testified that a former top executive at Paramount Pictures deliberately misled Cussler by saying the studio “loved” his screenplay when it did not. “They lied to [Cussler] so they didn’t have to have an argument with him,” Baldwin said in a video deposition played in the courtroom.
Baldwin spent a second day on the witness stand facing hostile questioning from Cussler’s attorney. Bertram Fields sought to portray Baldwin as an untrustworthy producer who repeatedly lied during the development phase of the film. She is expected to resume her testimony this morning in the downtown courtroom of Superior Court Judge John P. Shook. Lawyers for Anschutz criticized Fields for attempting to “sully” Baldwin’s reputation as part of an effort to shift the jurors’ attention away from the facts of the case. “He is trying to make Ms. Baldwin the scapegoat for all of the bad actions of Mr. Cussler,” Marvin Putnam, a lawyer on Anschutz’s team from O’Melveny & Myers, said in an interview.
But Fields said Baldwin’s behavior undermined the claim that Cussler was “difficult and disruptive” during the development of SAHARA. “The real disruption to the movie was the breathtaking duplicity of Karen Baldwin telling one person one thing and another person another thing,” Fields said. “I can’t help it if she has no credibility.”