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UPDATE: Testimony continues in David Copperfield case

Magician David Copperfield facing lawsuit
Posted at 8:49 AM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 21:09:32-04

UPDATE APRIL 17: David Copperfield did not take the stand Tuesday to explain what went wrong with the magic trick that injured an audience participant in 2013.

Meanwhile, the executive producer of the Las Vegas Strip show testified Tuesday about the route that randomly chosen participants take during the illusion. The trick seems to make about a dozen audience members vanish onstage, only to reappear at the back of the theater at the MGM Grand resort.

Copperfield is expected to testify in his defense as he faces a lawsuit alleging negligence.

Longtime Copperfield business partner Chris Kenner told jurors that participants don't know in advance that they'll be quickly ushered through hidden passageways during the illusion dubbed "the runaround."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UPDATE AT 6 PM APRIL 13: They are the tricks and illusions that entertain millions of Las Vegas visitors every year, but they also pay the bills for many performers.

"I think when you legally reveal illusions, if you don't need to you shouldn't have to," said Illusionist and Las Vegas Strip performer Murray SawChuck.

SawChuck, who performs nightly at Planet Hollywood, says the world of magic is watching the Copperfield trial closely because it may expose future illusion secrets.

"I'm old-school, a lot of my secrets and illusions I created," said SawChuck. "I want to take them to the grave and I have no interest in sharing them," added SawChuck.

SawChuck says he is familiar with the Copperfield trick and adds it has been performed thousands of times without incident.

Inside a packed Las Vegas courtroom, Copperfield watched as attorneys for both sides laid out their cases during opening arguments.

"Their illusion, their design, their route, their responsibility," said Benedict Morelli, attorney for Gavin Cox.

At issue is the financial blame for the 2013 incident involving Cox, a British tourist who was participating in a Copperfield disappearing act at the MGM.

Cox's attorney described the illusion in detail which involved sending 13 people down a dark and secret passage which contained inclines. Cox's attorney said a nearby construction project left debris in the participants path and Cox fell suffering brain, neck and shoulder injuries.

"What is not an illusion is that at the end of the day, the evidence will show neither David Copperfield, or David Copperfield's Disappearing Inc, were the cause of Cox falling that night," said Elaine Fresch, Copperfield's attorney.

Both sides wrapped up closing augments Friday. Copperfield is expected to take the stand on Tuesday when court resumes. 

UPDATE AT NOON APRIL 13: Opening statements got underway on Friday morning for the case involving David Copperfield in Las Vegas. 

Before opening statements, lawyers for the magician and MGM asked the judge to close the trial to the public in order to protect details of Copperfield's tricks. The judge decided to keep the courtroom open.

OPENING STATEMENTS PART 1

OPENING STATEMENTS PART 2

UPDATE APRIL 13: In just a few hours, one of David Copperfield's most popular tricks could be revealed in a Las Vegas courtroom.

Opening statements are expected to take place this morning. Benedict Morelli, who represents the man suing Copperfield, says that he will reveal the secret behind the magician's trick in court.

Copperfield may take the stand himself sometime next week and be required to explain the trick to the court. 

Since the incident in 2013, Gavin Cox claims his injuries have required three major surgeries to his neck, shoulder and head. 

Copperfield is one of the most famous magicians in the world. He is best known for his combination of storytelling and illusion and his most famous tricks include making the Statue of Liberty disappear and walking through the Great Wall of China. He has been performing in Las Vegas for more than a decade. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Magician David Copperfield may have to testify in a multi-million dollar court case.

According to Global News, an audience member claims he was left with brain damage after a 2013 show.

Gavin Cox says that he was chosen from the audience to participate in Copperfield's disappearing act and things went horribly wrong. He says that he tripped and fell on construction debris in a secret passageway and hit his head on the floor.

Jury selection is currently underway for the case and Cox's attorney want's Copperfield to take the stand to explain how the trick was supposed to work.