Who needs scripted TV when real-life cliffhangers are as exciting as this?
Though Nicollette Sheridan's trial against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is winding down, the drama is showing no signs of following suit, and E! News has obtained a voicemail that could shed new information in the case about the actress's termination from the prime-time show.
The voicemail, allegedly left for one of Sheridan's attorneys by a show insider claiming to have been unintentionally privy to sensitive information, is being touted by Nicollette's legal team as proof of a potential cover-up with regards to her allegedly wrongful termination.
Though the message has yet to be heard in court, Sheridan's attorney Mark Baute is trying to get it entered into evidence before the trial ends—which could be as early as tomorrow—as well as get the man on the tape to come in and testify on the stand. Attorneys for both sides have already met with Judge Elizabeth Allen White in her chambers to discuss allowing the voicemail to be admitted in court, though she has yet to rule on the matter.
"This is going to be an interesting day," another of Sheridan's attorneys, Patrick Maloney, told E! News.
As for Cherry's legal eagles, attorney Adam Levin understandably balked at the tape, telling the judge, "We are going down a rabbit hole."
He also told E! News that the voicemail "strikes us as quite odd and Mr. Baute's office didn't even let us know about this until the 11th hour."
Meanwhile, we have learned that White won't make a decision on the tape until this afternoon, telling both sides, "I am sure you will be making lots of phone calls."
So what exactly is on this alleged smoking gun? Listen to it now:
As you can hear, the voicemail was apparently left for Baute by an unnamed male employee on Desperate Housewives, who claims he has been with the show for eight years.
"Hi Mark, I'm an employee of Desperate Housewives," the message says. "I received an email soon after Nicollette filed suit; I think it was meant for a much narrower distribution, but it regarded having IT come in and wipe clean the hard drives of the producers in response to the correspondence that they've had, email-wise, about firing Nicollette.
"Um, I think I got it by mistake. I believe they were going to have the Disney IT person come in to do the sweeping of the hard drive…that's about all I know. You obviously can check this number and figure out who I am but I really don't want to get involved."
As famous last words go, those aren't bad. As for when, exactly, the potential life raft of evidence was left and why Sheridan's team waited so long to surface it remain unclear.
"I'm a real low-level employee there and I shouldn't have got that email, I'm on the general email list...See ya."
And maybe sooner than he thinks. As always, watch this space.
UPDATE: There will be a special closed session tomorrow morning that will allow both counsels to speak to the man on the voicemail (if they can actually get in touch with him).
Judge White will then decide if he will be allowed as a witness and if his voicemail and testimony will be admitted into evidence.
In response to the emails referenced in the voicemail, Cherry's attorney Levin said in a statement, "We've presented a number of different witnesses all testifying that the decision to kill Edie Britt was made long before September, 2008. Today's antics by the plaintiff, conjuring up mysterious emails, appears to be a last ditch effort save to her case. At the 11th hour we saw the plaintiff handing out transcripts and it all seemed very orchestrated."
Additionally, Levin told E! News outside the courtroom, "These mystery emails are a last ditch effort [by Sheridan and her counsel]. I wanna see the emails, because I am not buying it."
Baute said that there is an "85 percent" chance that closing arguments will happen tomorrow afternoon.