Magician David Copperfield is expected to testify as early as Friday in a multimillion-dollar court case filed by an audience member who says he was left with brain damage at one of the magician’s 2013 shows in Las Vegas.
Copperfield will be the second or third witness for plaintiff Gavin Cox, a former chef for British royalty, who went to the MGM Hotel and Casino show with his wife Minh-Hahn Cox for his birthday in 2013.
Cox was chosen from the audience for Copperfield’s disappearing act — Lucky 13 which involves Copperfield making 13 audience members disappear — but when the assistants hurried him through a darkened, secret passageway he tripped and fell on construction debris, slamming his head into the floor.
“During the trick, Plaintiff was injured, when he was hurried with no guidance or instruction through a dark area under construction with cement dust and debris causing him to slip and fall,” the complaint filed in 2014 said.
Cox suffered a traumatic brain injury and also had two fusion surgeries on his neck and a shoulder surgery.
Cox is suing the MGM Grand Hotel and Copperfield, as well as the construction crew linked to the incident. He claims that the defendants were negligent in caring for the area in which the fall occurred.
Cox’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, explained Tuesday why he wants to put Copperfield on the witness stand.
“It’s important for me to examine him so that the jury can hear how the illusion is done,” Morelli said.
“I’m going to be quizzing him in a very pointed way about exactly what happened and why my client was put in a position to be seriously injured,” he said.
Morelli continued: “The one thing I know is he’s not going to make me disappear.”
“I’m going to have a good time questioning Mr. Copperfield, because he may try, but I’m not going into any box,” Morelli told The New York Post in 2017. “I do believe that certain secrets are going to come out.”
Cox’s lawyer declined to reveal how much he’ll ask the jury to award his client but he did admit that it’s a “very large sum.”
Cox is pursuing damages for things including medical bills and lost earning capacity.
When The Daily Mail spoke to him in 2016, Cox, who has not worked since the accident, said: “It’s turned my life upside-down. I have pretty much constant pain, and my difficulty is my short-term memory.”
He added: “I have a ventilator. Otherwise, I stop breathing at night.”
Copperfield’s lawyer, Theodore Blumberg, said the trick in question “has been performed for more than 15 years and with more than 100,000 participants. The history of the show speaks for itself. We deny all allegations.”
Blumberg continued: “Unfortunately we cannot comment further due to ongoing litigation.” He declined to comment on specific allegations and Morelli’s threat to expose the magician’s tricks during trial.