Pledge This! lawsuit: Paris Hilton defends herself in court

Written by the Associated Press

Paris Hilton repeatedly fussed with her hair and makeup in a federal courtroom Friday, sported six-inch stiletto heels and a black dress and amused the judge with a little wave on the way to the witness stand.
Once on the stand, though, Hilton was businesslike when it came to defending herself against an $8 million lawsuit’s claim that she didn’t do her part to promote the 2006 box-office bomb Pledge This! She acknowledged in court the movie didn’t turn out very well but insisted she plugged it for everything she was worth.

“If I have my name attached to something, I want it to be as big as it can be,” the 28-year-old heiress, model and actress testified. “It could have been a lot better if it was done more professionally. I wanted it to do as well as possible.”

Hilton is accused by an investor’s lawsuit of turning her back on the film, a box office bomb that made just $2.9 million, at a crucial time when it was being released on DVD and in foreign markets. The lawsuit seeking $8.3 million in damages claims she violated her contract by rejecting or ignoring requests by producers to appear on talk shows and do radio and magazine interviews for the film.

Hilton insisted she was never told her contract required appearances after the October 2006 premiere of Pledge This! and said she spent more than two years promoting it beforehand, including two high-profile trips to the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The trial is being heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, who reacted with surprise when Hilton gave him a little wave before testifying. “I’ve never had a witness wave at me before,” the judge cracked.

At one point, Hilton was testifying about how full her schedule was during rehearsals for her next film, 2008’s The Hottie & The Nottie, when Moreno interrupted.

“Was it better than this one?” the judge said, referring to Pledge This! .

“It was really good,” Hilton answered with a giggle. Along with the heels, Hilton wore an all-black sleeveless dress tied at the back and sported diamond rings and a bracelet.

Testimony was expected to conclude Friday but it was unclear when Moreno would issue a ruling. If he finds Hilton breached her contract, a separate proceeding could be held to determine any damages.

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Michael Goldberg, a court-appointed receiver for a now-defunct entertainment company that was the major investor in Pledge This! The company, Worldwide Entertainment Group, was shut down as a $300 million Ponzi scheme by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Goldberg is attempting to recoup losses for some 3,300 investors.

Goldberg said Friday he put up the final $600,000 from his receivership account to complete the movie in hopes that Hilton’s promotion prowess would enable it to turn a profit. He said her unwillingness to do events after the premiere was the reason it lost money.

“I said, ‘Just do one little thing and you’ll never hear from me again,”‘ Goldberg told Moreno. “We had no support whatsoever.”

Posted: July 10th, 2009
Comments: 6


From: scot
Time: July 10, 2009, 9:08 pm

I really like this judge. I think he gets how ridiculous this all is and him and Paris seem to be pretty playful with each other which is always great. This is just bollocks and I applaud Paris for how she is handling this. I was worried she was going to play dumb but I like what she has said.

Has anyone got any new information on that movie Paris said she was suppossed to be doing? Or did that all fall through? Also, the whole rumors of her retiring from acting? Hmm.. I want Paris to star in a dirty indie flick. Something raw and lovely.

From: admin
Time: July 10, 2009, 9:16 pm

That’s exactly what I was thinking. I think the judge definitely finds this case is a bit too ridiculous. o_0

But I think the lame-brained excuse that if she had promoted it, it would’ve been a success is making him take the case less seriously. lol

From: scot
Time: July 10, 2009, 9:35 pm

I know, I honestly dont get how they think if Paris had made even more appearenced they would’ve earned that extra $5.4 million they needed to cover the budget. The movie was horrible, like just awful. Jus the thought of the voice over still makes me want to vomit. Thanks for posting all these articles by the way!

From: juju
Time: July 10, 2009, 10:57 pm

well, there are obviously a lot of issues here that need to be taken seriously. $8 million dollars is not chump change.

that fact that it made it to court indicates that the suit has some merit otherwise it would have been dismissed before going to trial. yes, the movie sucked, but that isn’t the point.

it’s true that promotions alone can’t make a bad movie successful at the box office or on DVD, but if she didn’t do something the contract said to do, well then, it’s possible she could get nailed to pay something.

ignorance of what’s in a contract that YOU sign (not your “people”) is no excuse in court.

hopefully paris learns another lesson about taking contracts seriously. on simple life 2, after the cattle drive upon wanting to save bill – the steer- , she told the owners to just “break the contract, it happens all the time in hollywood.”

a sentiment that is not exactly a recipe for avoiding legal trouble. and if she gets nailed this time, it will encourage others to come after her in the future, so she’ll have to be even more careful about abiding by what she signs.

but then again, maybe the judge just wanted to meet her. i won’t hold my breath for that….

From: admin
Time: July 11, 2009, 9:18 am


You’re right… But let us remember that this happened before the jail sentence and the DUI cases, when she was a bit irresponsible, and also, in those days she would party a lot and all. All of that, including this promotion thing, happened before the jail sentence. It may be part of her reckless past, assuming she didn’t follow the contract.

We expect better from Paris these days!

From: Jen
Time: July 11, 2009, 6:02 pm

Why did Goldberg put an additional $600,000 of the investors money toward a movie that he knew had already tanked? Seems crazy.
Is he suing Paris Hilton to protect his own hide?

This whole lawsuit makes no sense.

Bankruptcy lawyers cannot ecpect Paris to make up the losses of the investors in Utsick’s ponzi scheme – those are separate issues which have nothing to do with Paris Hilton.

But as usual, bankruptcy lawyers will go after anyone with money. It’s the American way.