TV Host Erin Andrews Testifies in $75M Civil Suit Over Illegal Hotel Videos

By Sheila Burke | March 2, 2016

Sportscaster and TV host Erin Andrews took the witness stand in Nashville this week in her $75 million civil lawsuit, breaking down repeatedly and telling jurors of the devastation she continues to feel after a man secretly shot nude videos of her and posted them on the Internet.

Andrews sobbed as she recalled how some in the media speculated that she was doing it to attract attention to herself before the FBI made an arrest.

“Probably for three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt,” she said, choking up on the stand. “That ripped me apart.”

Andrews said she was terrified that the videos would go viral and she would never be able to get them off the Internet after a friend told her about them in July 2009.

“I just kept saying, `We gotta get it down. We gotta get it down.’ And we can’t get it down! And we’re never going to get it off,” she testified.

She told jurors that she worked hard ever since she was a little girl to be a sportscaster and now she is taunted daily by people who have seen the video.

“I wanted to be the girl next door who loved sports, and now I’m the girl with a hotel scandal,” she said.

She said the stalking left her fearful, anxious and depressed.

Her mother also took the stand, saying Andrews used to be easy-going and loved to talk to people at sports games before the stalking.

“And now, unless there’s somebody to protect her, she does not interact,” Paula Andrews testified. “She’s very, very frightened.”

Andrews filed a $75 million lawsuit against Barrett, West End Hotel Partners, which is the franchise owner of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, and Windsor Capital Group, which manages the hotel.

Jurors heard from the stalker early Monday during recorded depositions played in court. In the videos played before the jury, Michael David Barrett testified that he took the secret nude videos of Andrews so he could make money.

Barrett said the only reason he picked Andrews was because she was popular and he saw that she was trending on Yahoo. He posted the recordings online after celebrity gossip website TMZ refused to buy the footage.

Barrett spent more than 2 1/2 years in federal prison after he admitted to renting hotel rooms next to Andrews three times and shooting nude videos of her in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, and posting them on the Internet. He said he was able to get the videos of her by manipulating the hotel door peephole in such a way that he could pull the peephole out and use his mobile phone to shoot videos of her.

When an attorney asked him how he got the idea to shoot videos through the hotel room peepholes, he said: “I don’t know, just a stupid thought.”

He was an executive with a Chicago-area insurance company when he shot the footage of Andrews in the Nashville hotel in September of 2008.

Barrett, who traveled extensively in his former job, admitted that he had also taken nude videos of about 10 other women in hotels and posted the footage online.

He has not shown up in court to fight the lawsuit. He may not have the money to mount a defense. He testified that he lives in Oregon with his father and drives a meat and food truck.

Jurors are going to have to decide if the hotel companies were negligent in any way. The companies maintain that what happened to her was terrible, but it is Barrett who is solely to blame. Jurors have heard conflicting testimony about how he came to be placed in a room right next to Andrews while she was staying at the hotel to cover a Vanderbilt football game for ESPN. And they will have to determine just how much she suffered emotionally as a result of the Internet posting of the nude recordings.

Andrews’ lawyer Randall Kinnard told jurors that employees at the Nashville hotel revealed to Barrett that Andrews would be staying at the hotel on Sept. 4, 2008, and granted his request to be in an adjoining room. Kinnard said Barrett’s request should have been a red flag for employees.

The hotel companies lawyer Marc Dedman said there was no evidence that the hotel deliberately placed Barrett next to her. He said Barrett knew the hospitality system so well that he was able to use an in-house phone at the hotel to figure out where Andrews was staying and requested a room next to hers that was being cleaned.

“He deceived, he connived, he stalked – that’s what Mr. Barrett did,” Dedman told jurors.

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Latest Comments

  • March 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm
    M. Prankster says:
    He was an executive with a Chicago-area insurance company... in September of 2008. Which company - anyone know? Whatta creep.
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