Dish-AMC Trial Has Become 3-Ring Circus
Washington, D.C. (October 17, 2012) --
The three-ring circus known as the AMC/Dish breach-of-contract trial
found another ring to perform in yesterday when a sobbing Dish
executive stormed out of the courtroom after being insulted by
the judge and then returned to yell at an opposition attorney
and possibly physically rough up his father who was in a
And all this happened after the judge ruled the hard drive on
the executive's computer should be seized immediately because he
suspects she's been deleting important evidence, according to
the New York Post.
Before we unspool the unbelievable and unkindly details from
yesterday, allow us first to set the stage:
AMC is suing Dish for $2.5 billion for dropping the AMC-owned
Voom HD Networks from its lineup in 2007. Dish claims Voom
failed to live up to its legal obligation to spend $100 million
on programming; AMC and Voom says Dish dropped the channels
because they felt they could carry other HD channels for less
The outcome could have
an impact on the now three-month long programming impasse
between Dish and AMC. The latter claims that Dish was not
sincere in reaching a new deal to carry AMC and two sister
networks because it wanted to use the impasse in possible
settlement talks in the Voom case.
And the way the trial has been going, Dish may want to engage in
those settlement talks sooner than later. Last week, Judge
Richard Lowe III threatened to declare a victory for AMC when
Dish failed to produce some internal email correspondence in the
case. On Monday, Dish produced the emails and they tend to
confirm AMC and Voom's account of the controversy.
But yesterday, oh, yesterday, was a doozie.
Judge Lowe spotted Dish programming chief Carolyn Crawford in
the courtroom and said she shouldn't be allowed there because
her future testimony will be crucial to the case. Lowe then
noted that Crawford's computer suddenly disappeared back in 2007
when the Voom controversy was at its zenith and he ordered that
Crawford's current hard drive be seized. The judge inferred that
Dish and Crawford may have deleted emails important to the case.
He also called Crawford "that woman," according to various news
That apparently was enough to send a sobbing Crawford flying
through the exit doors of the courtroom, even though the judge
But Crawford returned and approached attorneys for AMC and Voom.
According to the Post, she wagged her finger at the attorneys
and the judge and then somehow got into an argument with the
father of a AMC/Voom attorney. The attorney, Orin Snyder, said
Crawford pushed his Dad and he then called the cops.
At day's end, it was unclear how the scuffle would be resolved
but no arrests were made. And legal observers were busily trying
to figure out how this crazy trial would have a happy ending.
The early consensus is that it will result in a mistrial or Dish
will have to settle for as much as $1 billion.
And to make things a bit more interesting, outspoken Dish chief
Charlie Ergen is scheduled to testify today. Update: Wall Street analyst Rich Greenfield just tweeted
this morning that the judge is sending the jury home until
Monday so no Ergen today. No reason as to why the jury is
getting a break, although I think we can guess.