The video went viral in March 2009 after Jackson had promoted it on his website and posted links to the full 13 minute video, which racked up millions of views. It also ended up on numerous porn sites.
“It was like someone had just took a knife, stabbed me in the heart, twisted it and took it out,” a teary Leviston testified during the trial.
Jackson’s lawyer, James Renard, told jurors his client had gotten the private tape from Murray, who’d assured him that Leviston was fine with the explicit video going online.
In a videotaped deposition that was played for jury, Fitty said he didn’t think he needed Leviston’s permission to use the tape because Murray said she was “cool with it.”
“This whole fiasco was precipitated by a pack of lies by Maurice Murray,” Renard said. Jackson’s side described the tape as a satirical piece, “although adult rated,” that had been aimed at Ross.
Freidin described it as “an attack” – an assault he said continued during the trial, with the defense using a “blame the victim” strategy that included delving into an arrest in her twenties on fraud charges and a brief stint as a topless dancer.
Fitty is expected to appeal, but the lawsuit has already been costly for him – he racked up $400,000 in legal fees with the law firm that was defending the case before it went to trial, court papers show.
“We are disappointed in the verdict, but very appreciative of the service of the jury and the court,” said one of his current lawyers, William Brewer.