Transcript for Gwyneth Paltrow expected to testify in 2016 skiing accident case
- Gwyneth Paltrow is expected to testify today in a civil trial over a 2016 ski accident. The actress and Goop founder is accused of skiing recklessly and causing a crash that left a man with broken ribs and brain damage. But Paltrow's attorney tells a different story. ABC's Mola Lenghi has the latest.
MOLA LENGHI: All eyes on this Park City, Utah courtroom.
- You may proceed.
MOLA LENGHI: Gwyneth Paltrow is set to take the stand in her own defense, accused of skiing out of control on a beginner slope in 2016 and crashing into this man, retired optometrist Terry Sanderson.
- My objection was sustained, and we're just pretending it wasn't--
MOLA LENGHI: Paltrow, seen here with her defense team, sued for allegedly causing Sanderson brain damage and four broken ribs in that ski collision. Paltrow is facing $300,000 in damages if found liable. The crux of Sanderson's argument is negligence. And that after Paltrow allegedly skied into him, she got up and left him injured. Sanderson's daughter, Polly Gresham, taking the stand, describing him as a loving father whose behavior changed after the accident.
- Something's terribly wrong.
MOLA LENGHI: But after Paltrow's defense attorney, Steve Owens, repeatedly brought up that Polly's sister, Jennifer, gave sworn testimony that their dad was abusive.
- It's her experience. so--
- I want the truth.
- --you're asking my opinion. And I think you have her experience.
MOLA LENGHI: He was later forced to apologize.
- It was wrong for me to triangulate you, your dad, and your sister, and your mom, and I asked for your forgiveness. Owens also claiming Sanderson liked the spotlight, again, pointing to an email he wrote after the accident with the subject line "I'm famous."
- He's famous because he collided with a celebrity, right?
MOLA LENGHI: Gresham defending her dad.
- I think it matches his personality, a little bit of making light of a serious situation.
MOLA LENGHI: Paltrow was countersuing Sanderson for $1, saying it was he who caused the accident. The Goop founder could take the stand as early as today.
- And What. We can expect in Gwyneth Paltrow's testimony later today is that she's a fact witness. She's going to talk about and provide testimony regarding what actually happened from her perspective.
- Now, the trial is set to continue next week when Paltrow's defense team is expected to call medical experts, ski instructors, and the movie star's two children to testify, Diane.
- All right, Mola Lenghi, thank you. And ABC News legal contributor Brian Buckmire joins me live now for more on this. Brian, you say by law, Gwyneth Paltrow does not have to testify in this case. But you say in terms of legal strategy, she kind of does.
- Yeah, there's nothing to force a person in a civil case to go up and give their side of the story. But if it's a he said, she said, then where is the she to say? She has to make the argument on two fronts-- one, that she wasn't reckless because then that will count out a large part of the allegations; and two, that she was hit, not the other way around.
- So what do you expect to hear from her when she takes the stand?
- I expect to hear the emotions of this is what skiing was to me. I was with my children kind of giving a backdrop. But I'm also expecting to hear, I wasn't skiing recklessly. I know how to ski. I'm an intermediate skier. I was skiing on the right side of a green slope for a reason, and this person came crashing in behind me. I was neither reckless nor at fault.
- Now, how do you think-- how strong is this case against her at this point based on what we've seen so far? The level is preponderance of the evidence, so 51%. More likely than not, than one committed the crime or the claim, sorry, than the other.
Right now, I still think it's a little bit shaky. Even though that this is the plaintiff's case so far, I think Paltrow could get up there when her case is on and poke a lot of holes. Namely, how was he hit? Someone saying he's hit from behind and fell straight spread eagle. Another person saying he fell to the side. and that's why as those ribs, those inconsistencies can be a problem.
- Now, she's also countersuing in this case. The plaintiff is suing for $300,000. She's countersuing for $1. Why?
- Yeah. Well, originally, he was charging for $3.1 million, lost a number of claims and then went down. I think the dollar is more the significance behind it of saying, hey, I'm not really looking for money. I'm just looking for value for truth to come out. And she doesn't need the money, so she doesn't want to seem like she's really going after a retired optometrist. It might be a bad look.
- We also saw this moment, and we saw it in the piece there. I've never seen this in a court case. Gwyneth Paltrow's attorney apologized to the daughter of the plaintiff in this case while she was in the stand. What happened there?
- Yeah, so it's what lawyers do. They go back and forth. There might be a little bit of butting of the head. And I think what a lot of lawyers fail to do is you don't recognize who you are in cross-examining this person. And so I mean, if I'm cross-examining you, Diane, and I get really loud and obnoxious, you'd be like, what's wrong with Brian? Like, why is he doing this? And I think he took it a step too far and then tried to regain some credibility by apologizing, but I think it was a little-- far a little too late.
- All right, Brian Buckmire, always great to have your analysis. Thank you.
- My pleasure.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.