O'Neal lawyers rest case over portrait by Warhol
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ryan O'Neal's attorneys on Thursday concluded their defense of the actor in a lawsuit aimed at making him relinquish an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett that he says he has owned since 1980.
The silkscreen portrait continues to hang in O'Neal's beachside home, but the University of Texas at Austin wants a jury to determine that it should be handed over to the school in accordance with Fawcett's final wishes.
The "Charlie's Angels" star left the university all her artwork upon her death in June 2009.
O'Neal's final witnesses included Redmond O'Neal, his son with Fawcett, and a chiropractor who treated the actress and watched her work on her own sculptures.
Redmond O'Neal's testimony was limited by Superior Court Judge William MacLaughlin, who told attorneys on both sides that the three-week case has featured too much testimony that has nothing to do with who owns the disputed artwork.
Redmond O'Neal told jurors that his mother didn't like a reality TV producer who testified for the university. The producer, Craig Nevius, said he believes Ryan O'Neal stole the portrait from Fawcett's condominium.
Nevius provided footage from Fawcett's reality show, and images and other information that was presented by university attorneys in their bid to gain possession of the portrait. Experts said the artwork is worth anywhere from less than $1 million to $12 million.
Nevius was called back to the stand Thursday, with university attorneys using some of the video footage his company shot for Fawcett's reality show "Chasing Farrah" to try to bolster their case. In the footage, Fawcett shows off one of the Warhol portraits in her storage facility to a celebrity auction house owner and declares, "I have two."
When questioned about why she needed two Warhols, Fawcett is heard saying she thought she would leave one to her son. She does not mention O'Neal or indicate he has ownership, but O'Neal's attorneys contend the clips don't prove the actress actually owned both portraits.
The actor's case consisted largely of witnesses who knew Fawcett and recounted their recollections of conversations with the actress about the two portraits Warhol created of her while she was filming a special for the TV show "20/20."
A jury of six men and six women will begin their deliberations after closing arguments, which are expected to occur Monday.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP.
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