Toby Canham/Getty Images
by Baker Machado | Tue., Mar. 13, 2012 12:07 PM
Toby Canham/Getty Images
The plot thickened today in Nicollette Sheridan's trial against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry as a mystery witness was allowed by Judge Elizabeth Allen White to take the stand.
After the bombshell revelation yesterday that a voicemail was sent to Sheridan's attorney Mark Baute alleging an ABC cover-up in regard to the actress's termination from the show, the man who left the message spoke to the court.
Michael Reinhart, an eight-year construction coordinator on Desperate Housewives, testified that he had called Baute on Sunday evening to tell him that he had received an email back in the fall of 2010 by accident, remembering that it contained the words "IT," "Nicollette Sheridan," "delete" and "hard drive."
A very nervous Reinhart added that, after speaking to Baute on the phone, he did not want to testify and revealed on the stand, "I packed my bags and left my house," in order to dodge a subpoena.
Reinhart went on to testify that he does not have the email that was sent to his ABC account and erased it on the spot.
"The email, in my perception, made me feel uncomfortable," Reinhart said. He also could not recall any other words used on the email besides "IT," "Nicollette Sheridan," "delete" and "hard drive," and that he could not remember who else the email was sent to.
"I believe the email was not intended for me," he said. "I was disturbed by it and tried to forget it."
Reinhart, however, insisted the email was "bothering him" and he "began to lose sleep" as the trial went on and felt that if he didn't do something, he would "have to live with that for the rest of my life."
But Reinhart also feared that by testifying, he was "performing professional suicide" and worried that he would not be able to find a job after Desperate Housewives concluded its season.
Cherry's attorney Adam Levin pointed out that Baute had promised Reinhart a job if he would come and testify.
Reinhart told Levin that "it is possible I could have misinterpreted the email."
Levin asked for, and was subsequently granted, a forensic examination of Reinhart's laptop.
Judge White, meanwhile, said that Reinhart was "out of the blue" and "nothing the plaintiff invited," but stressed that she was "losing the jury" and delaying this trial any more could result in a mistrial, which is why she allowed Reinhart to testify.