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Key Witness Disqualified in USA Network Flap

December 10, 1996|From Bloomberg Business News

WILMINGTON, Del. — In a blow to Universal Studios Inc., a key witness was disqualified as an expert witness in a Delaware Chancery Court trial after the judge said he dodged questions about errors in his resume.

Andrew Rosenfield, president of Lexecon Inc., was to testify as an antitrust expert for Seagram Co.'s Universal Studios, which sued Viacom Inc. in a partnership dispute over USA Network. The case ended Friday after a month of testimony, and the judge could take several months to make a ruling.

Rosenfield was disqualified as an expert witness after the judge said he dodged questions about errors in his resume.

"The witness has taken the credibility test and failed," the judge, Vice Chancellor Myron Steele, said in his ruling on Friday.

Rosenfield said in his 11-page resume he is an economist and holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. But under questioning by Viacom attorney Peter Greene, Rosenfield acknowledged he had graduated from Harvard's Graduate School of Design with a master's degree in city and regional planning.

Rosenfield also said in his resume that he completed course work toward a PhD in the University of Chicago's economics department, but acknowledged under questioning he was never admitted to the PhD program. Rosenfield graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1978.

In his ruling, Steele commented on "a remarkable lack of candor on the witness' part about the nature of his educational background." Given that, Steele said, any testimony by Rosenfield would pose "a significant risk of embellishment of critical, substantive facts resulting in opinions upon which I would not be inclined to rely."

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