USA TODAY US Edition
Andrews: ‘I have to stand up for myself ’
Signs from fans in the stands used to say “Marry me, Erin Andrews. You’re hot,” Andrews told a Nashville jury Monday.
She could handle it back then, she said, and used comments about her looks to fuel her career.
But a 4½-minute video secretly recorded of the television broadcaster nude at a Nashville hotel in 2008 changed that, she said.
Now when the Fox Sports reporter is on the field, she has an earpiece in one ear and a neverending stream of anxiety in the other.
“I’ve seen your this. I’ve seen your that,” she said tearfully from the witness stand, recalling the jeers she hears from the crowd. “Hey, I’ve seen what you do here.”
Andrews testified in the fifth day of her civil trial. She is seeking $75 million from Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, owned by West End Hotel Partners and operated by Windsor Capital Group.
The 37-year-old spoke calmly and looked at the jurors as she described her childhood as a tomboy. Her first big job covering the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team in her hometown in Florida. How she worked hard to be the girl next door who knew her stuff, not the tall blond stereotype on the sidelines.
Then, she tearfully described what happened on Sept. 4, 2008, when a man she did not know requested a room next to her at the hotel and recorded her naked through an altered peephole. “I’m so angry,” she said. “This could have been stopped.”
She said if she had known the man requested the room next to her, she would have called police. But Marriott hotel staff never notified her, she said.
Michael David Barrett, testifying via video deposition earlier Monday, said he fell on hard financial times and planned to follow Andrews only once. Andrews left the courtroom during Barrett’s video testimony.
He chose her on a whim because she was popular on the Internet, he said.
He followed her to three hotels around the country, recording video on his cellphone, according to his testimony. He said he would call to confirm a reservation in Andrews’ name as if it was his own.
At the Nashville Marriott in September 2008, he used a house phone with a digital display to call and asked to be transferred to Andrews’ room, he said. That’s how he found out her room number, he said, and then he requested to be in the room next door.
He said he watched Andrews leave and then altered the peephole so he could film through it.
He pleaded guilty to federal stalking charges in 2009 and was sentenced to more than 2 ½ years in prison. He said he spent 20 months incarcerated.
Previous testimony was that the videos or still images from them were seen by more than 16.8 million people. Andrews described how she had to convince the public, even the FBI, that the video was not a publicity stunt.
To jurors’ rapt attention she described how media stories about the video traumatized her. She described her decision to file the civil lawsuit.
“This trial has obviously brought everything back,” she said. “This is like it was the first week it happened.”
She said she believed what happened to her could happen to anyone. Barrett testified that he had filmed about 10 other women at other hotels by altering peepholes as he had done to Andrews.
“I have to do what’s right,” Andrews said. “And I have to stand up for myself. And I have to stand up for everyone.”