Billionaire hologram producer hit with $11-million sexual harassment verdict

Alki David is the founder of Hologram USA, which famously created holograms of artists including rapper Tupac Shakur and pop star Michael Jackson. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A California jury ordered billionaire hologram producer Alki David and two companies he founded to pay $11.1 million in a sexual harassment and battery trial involving a former employee who said she was fired after she refused to have sex with the executive.

The jury found that David, 51, committed sexual battery against Chasity Jones, 42, when she worked for Networks, an online television service, and for Hologram USA, which operatesa hologram theaterin Hollywood that has produced holographic images of entertainers Billie Holiday, Jackie Wilson and Bernie Mac.

On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael Ongkeko ordered jurors to reconsider their initial $4.6 million compensatory damages verdict which covered lost wages, medical expenses and non-economic losses, such as emotional distress after they mistakenly included punitive damages. The panel deliberated for less than an hour before announcing the lower amount of $3.1 million.

Because jurors found the defendants acted with malice, the second phase to determine whether Jones should be awarded punitive damages was triggered. The panel heard evidence and ordered David to pay $8 million in punitive damages for committing sexual battery.

During the two-week trial, Jones testified that David inappropriately touched her and showed her a pornographic video on her work computer. She also said the defendant brought a male stripper into the workplace to celebrate the birthday of one of his executives. She said she found the strippers appearance offensive and considered it sexual harassment.

Jurors found that Jones, who was hired in January 2015 and fired in November 2016, was subjected to unwanted sexual harassment and battery. They agreed that she was wrongfully discharged after refusing the executives advances. The jury also deemed that workplace management knew or should have known about the harassment and hostile environment but failed to address it.

Mr. David will be filing an appeal to reverse what he believes was an unfair and unjust judgment. Ellyn Garofalo, Davids attorney, said in a statement.

Fridays verdict brought an end to a tense trial that included an outburst from David during his testimony Tuesday in which he verbally attacked Jones attorney, Lisa Bloom, and left the courtroom under the escort of a sheriffs deputy.

This is my beautiful, brave client Chasity Jones. It has been my great honor to fight for her for 2.5 years. Today we WON her sexual harassment and sexual assault trial against Alki David, and Hologram USA. Verdict is $4.6 million. Tomorrow, /H73fnQ8nur

It has been one of the great moments of my life to deliver justice to Chasity Jones, who the jury found was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by Alki David, and fired from her job for opposing his advances, Bloom said. It took 2-½ years for us to get to this point. [This] is a huge verdict for us and for all victims.

A spokesperson for David denied the allegations and said the executive did not abuse or harass Jones.

He is going to do everything he can to vindicate himself.

Jones and former co-worker Elizabeth Taylor, who also alleges sexual harassment and wrongful termination, filed the lawsuit in February 2017. Taylors claims will go to trial in July.

David is an heir of the Leventis-David Group, which made its fortune bottling Coca-Cola.

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