Updated: March 7, 2016, 7:42PM EST
After an emotional testimony regarding her horrifying experience of being stalked and publicly exposed, Erin Andrews has been awarded $55 million in damages.
The lawsuit, which Andrews brought against both her stalker and the hotel in which the incident occurred, was originally for $75 million. After deliberation, however, the jury found Michael Barrett 51 percent responsible and the hotel 49 percent responsible.
Andrews posted a heartfelt thank you on Twitter following the jury’s decision.
In court on Monday, ESPN reporter Erin Andrews broke down in tears after recalling the horrific story of being stalked.
Andrews said the incident has resulted in her feeling depressed, anxious and suffering from random bouts of panic attacks.
The initial incident gained momentum in 2009, after Erin Andrews found out from a blogger friend that she was secretly video tapped in her Nashville hotel room. Erin was in the city to cover a football game for the network.
Her stalker, later identified as Michael David Barrett, admitted to calling the hotel operator from the restaurant in the Nashville Marriott hotel and asking to be connected to Erin’s room. After he received the room number to the reporter’s room, he then went up to her floor, saw the maid cleaning the room right next to hers and requesting to be put in the same room.
When Barrett was given the room next to Andrews, he then used a hacksaw to remove the peep-hole in Andrews’ hotel room door and replaced it with a plug. And then he waited. Upon hearing Andrews’ shower water begin to run, Barrett went to Andrews’ door and recorded her undressing from his cellphone for a couple of minutes.
From there, Barrett’s “pretty ill-conceived plan” consisted of him “try[ing] to sell the tape to someone.”
Barrett was sentenced to two and half years in jail for the crime.
Andrews, however, is now suing the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University for $75 million dollars. Andrews, her family and her lawyers argue how much of an impact the incident has had on her life. Paula Andrews, Erin’s mother, stated, “We just kept telling her, ‘It’s not your fault. You’re a victim. You’ve been assaulted.” Adding, “She’s always afraid someone’s going to touch her, to get to her. She was very, very cooperative with fans … and now, unless there’s somebody standing there to protect her, she does not interact with people. She’s very, very frightened of crowds.”
Andrews also recalled, on the stand, how one of the hardest parts of the of ordeal was when she had to watch the video, which went viral, in front of the FBI with her father present, in order to determine whether or not she was being truthful in not having anything to do with the scandal.
Andrews said, “It was being said that I did this for a publicity stunt. All we kept thinking as a family ‘This is me! Who did this to me and who let this happen?.”
The case against the Nashville hotel is still being dealt with in court, but West End Hotel Partners — which operates the Nashville Marriott — is sticking to the claim that Barrett’s actions were of his own, not the hotel’s.
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