NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was perhaps his most unusual role in years.
Hollywood A-lister Robert De Niro was a star on the stand in a Manhattan courtroom Friday, cast in the role of victim.
As CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reports, it was no movie shoot.
He’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but on Friday De Niro played the role of star witness in Manhattan Supreme Court. The Hollywood goodfella testified against accused bad girl art gallery director Leigh Morse, who is charged with grand larceny for allegedly selling two paintings by De Niro’s father, Robert De Niro Sr., and illegally pocketing the cash for herself.
De Niro Sr. was a prominent artist with a myriad of works. Morse is accused of selling two of those paintings for $77,000 without passing on any of it to the famous actor who administers his dad’s estate.
Morse allegedly swiped the dough while working for convicted art dealer to the stars Lawrence Salander, who pleaded guilty last year to stealing more than $100 million in a massive art fraud scam.
Inside the courtroom on the stand De Niro testified he is the sole owner of his father’s large art collection and as such is entitled to get paid for the work that is sold.
“I wasn’t watching as carefully as I probably should have” early in the estate’s involvement with gallery owner Lawrence Salander,” De Niro said. But “I trusted Larry implicitly. I thought that anything that he did, it was going to be good.”
Morse maintains she is innocent but would not comment on the case, nor would her attorney.
If convicted Morse could face up to four years in jail.
Following his testimony De Niro quickly exited the courtroom and was rushed into a waiting car ahead of cameras outside the courthouse.
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