In the Gwyneth Paltrow court case, the management and authentication of social media evidence was shown to be, um, challenging? From a computer forensics perspective, what a screw up. In fact, technical skills were not required to let the cat out of the bag here.

The case involved a man, Terry Sanderson, who claimed he was injured by Paltrow while skiing at a resort where Paltrow was skiing. Paltrow denied the allegations and argued that Sanderson was at fault for the collision. They are suing each other.

Paltrow’s attorneys alleged Sanderson had GoPro footage of the collision that disproved his claims that Patrow rammed into him. That video was mentioned by Sanderson’s daughter after he emailed her a link to his ski discussion forum on the Meetup website.  Paltrow’s attorneys had attempted to open the link but said it was “purposely faulty.”

A Court TV viewer got the link while watching the trial online, logged into Meetup and then followed it. The link brought him to a private Meetup group where he found “Very Terry” Sanderson and several others talking about what happened on the day of the crash. It didn’t include the missing GoPro footage, but it does show in chats Paltrow’s name and thoughts on the collision. He said finding the missing link’s data was “ridiculously easy.” This guy then emailed his findings to Paltrow’s legal team, who should have found it seven years ago!

One item of interest was a post by a witness Craig Ramon, who said, “You cannot make this up. Gwyneth took out Terry last week. What makes me mad is that Gwyneth took out Terry and just took off.”

Another item, a part of that chat, was a post from Sanderson who knew it was Paltrow who slammed into him in the collision which he claims left him with brain damage.

What is interesting here?

  1. The video was not on the link that Paltrow’s attorneys indicated.
  2. An eye witness put Paltrow at fault, posting about it immediately after it happened.
  3. Sanderson stated in that chat he knew that the collision was with Paltrow.
  4. But that witness, as well as Sanderson, have subsequently repeatedly denied knowing that it was Paltrow in the ski-suit that was in the collision with Sanderson.

You don’t have to have been a Boy Scout to appreciate the motto, “Be Prepared.”

But it helps!