‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial: ‘Mystery Witness’ Cites Cover-Up

Construction coordinator Michael Reinhart testifies that he received ABC email on computer purge of references to killing off Nicollette Sheridan’s character

Last Updated: March 13, 2012 @ 11:41 AM

"Mystery witness" Michael Reinhart was allowed to testify Tuesday morning at the "Desperate Housewives" trial about emails Nicollette Sheridan's attorneys claimed showed an attempted cover-up of Nicollete Sheridan's firing by ABC.

In an anonymous phone call to Sheridan's lead attorney Mark Baute on Sunday night, construction coordinator Reinhart claimed he had erroneously been sent an email intended for his superiors that referred to "a conspiracy."

The email, he said, referred to a computer purge of communications about the killing off of Sheridan's character Edie Britt.

Reinhart told the jury and a packed courtroom that he came forward because, "I was trying to bring the truth out."

Also read: Marc Cherry Slams Nicollette Sheridan's 'Hugely Rude' Behavior

Visibly uncomfortable on the stand, the white-haired Reinhart told the jury that he thought the email indicated "impropriety." 

Asked by defense attorney Adam Levin why he had waited so long to come forward, he He said he feared it would have been "committing professional suicide."

But, he added, "It started gnawing at me … and it kept building up. I began losing sleep over it, and my conscience was bother me.

"I would have had to live with that doubt the rest of my life," Reinhart said.

But under questioning from Levin, Reinhart said he could have misread the email and that he didn't fully understand the meaning of the word "conspiracy." 

Also read: 'Desperate Housewives' Trial: Judge to Rule on 11th-Hour Witness Alleging Cover-Up

Reinhart said he erased the email as soon as he read it because "it made me feel uncomfortable." 

The judge granted the defense the right to conduct forensic testing of Reinhart's computer, but said they could have "half a day" because the case was taking too long and she was worried about losing the jury and a mistrial.

With closing arguements still to come, it appears the case will go to the jury on Wednesday at soonest.

Sheridan is seeking $6 million in damages from ABC and "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry for wrongful termination. The actress says she was fired from the show in February 2009 as retaliation for her complaint that Cherry had struck her in the head during a taping on Sept. 24, 2008.