British man tells Copperfield jury of running before fall

May 2, 2018
Plaintiff Gavin Cox testifies during his civil trial against magician David Copperfield at the Regional Justice Center on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Las Vegas. British tourist Cox claims he fell and was badly injured in in November 2013, when he and about 10 audience volunteers were hurried by stagehands off-stage, through indoor hallways and an outdoor alleyway so they could "reappear" at the back of the theater for the show finale. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A British tourist told a jury Tuesday that he was excited to take part in a David Copperfield vanishing act during a birthday trip to Las Vegas five years ago, but then his feet slipped from under him in an alley as he rounded a corner on the run, causing him serious injuries.

Gavin Cox and his wife are suing Copperfield, the MGM Grand hotel and several business entities for negligence and damages. He claims more than $400,000 in medical expenses from lasting brain and body injuries.

“I was having a good time up until the time I was injured,” Cox told Copperfield’s attorney, Elaine Fresch, during trial testimony. He said that at the urging of stagehands shouting “Run! Run! Run!” he was, “worrying about running fast enough to keep up with everybody.”

Cox, 57, a former chef from Kent, England, testified he felt “searing” pain when he fell heavily on his right side. He said he doesn’t remember getting up to finish the illusion that appears to make up to 13 people disappear onstage and reappear in the back of the theater during the show finale.

Afterward, Cox said he received paramedic and hospital medical treatment for shoulder and other injuries. Two day later, he and his wife and a lawyer returned to the theater at the MGM Grand and filed an accident report.

Cox, who said several times that he has suffered with memory problems since the fall, said he met Copperfield and spoke with one or two other people in a gathering room where audience volunteers were urged not to reveal to anyone the secrets behind the illusion.

One was a “tall gentleman in front of me who said to Mr. Copperfield, ‘This man’s been hurt,’” Cox said. “He just appeared tall because I was sitting down.”

Copperfield has testified he never knew of anyone being injured during the nearly 20 years he has performed the illusion, both in Las Vegas and on tour.

Jurors on Monday heard a Michigan schoolteacher’s account of falling and skinning her knee while taking part in the illusion during a Copperfield performance about five months before Cox’s fall in 2013.

Cox attorneys told the judge on Tuesday they’re investigating an account by another person who contacted them to describe an accident at a Copperfield show in 2004.

Testimony resumes Wednesday.