'Millionaire' trial begins! Smith, Silverman, Ferriter set to testify

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'Millionaire' trial begins! Smith, Silverman, Ferriter set to testify

Mon May 31, 2010 @ 07:28PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Millionaire EXCLUSIVE: Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday morning in the $250 million showdown over profits from "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Lawyers for the Walt Disney Co. and Celador International are in Riverside anticipating a 9am start time in front of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Once a jury is seated, opening statements could begin as early as Tuesday afternoon. Then Celador's Paul Smith and former WMA agents Ben Silverman, Greg Lipstone and John Ferriter are expected to testify this week (they're just a few of the industry insiders on the extensive witness list). Trial is expected to last about three weeks.  

For our full analysis of the case and its long road to trial, click here

The trial presents a rare open-court look at television accounting procedures, and an even rarer parade of high-level executives could testify. Besides those names above, the witness list includes Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, as well as former execs Michael Eisner, Mark Pedowitz and Lloyd Braun.

Check back for regular updates on the trial.   

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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