weather icon Clear

Harry Reid takes witness stand in Las Vegas civil trial — VIDEO

Updated March 28, 2019 - 8:10 pm

Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid described for a jury Thursday how he smashed his face on the corner of a bathroom cabinet in his Henderson home while using an exercise band.

“I hurt myself really bad,” he testified in the trial of his lawsuit against the makers of the band. “I just knew that I was hurt, and I needed to get some help.”

The injury on New Year’s Day in 2015 happened “really fast, really fast, really fast,” he said. “I can still remember that.”

He had looped an elastic resistance band through a metal handle on a glass door in his bathroom, he said, while performing an exercise routine before he lost his grip on the band, “spun around” and slammed his head on the cabinet.

He cupped his right hand over his right eye, saying he “broke everything here.” He was blinded in his eye, he said, and underwent several surgeries.

According to Reid’s lawsuit, with losing vision in his right eye in January 2015, he suffered a concussion, broken orbital bones, severe disfigurement to his face, bruising and lacerations on his face, hand injuries, scarring and broken ribs.

About two months after his injury, Reid, Senate minority leader at the time, announced that he would not seek re-election. He had served in the Senate since 1987.

Reid spent more than two hours on the witness stand Thursday, telling jurors about his childhood in Searchlight, his days as a boxer, lawyer and Nevada Gaming Commission chairman. He testified that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which was in remission.

Reid has arrived in court this week in a wheelchair, accompanied by his wife, court marshals and personal security.

One of Reid’s attorneys, Colin Esgro, asked how the injury affected his life.

For the next three months, Reid said, he slept in a chair.

“I could not put my head down,” he told jurors. “I could not do that. That would be bad for me.”

He added: “It was a difficult time.”


Reid, 79, and his wife of 60 years, Landra Gould, lodged a product liability lawsuit against three defendants: Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co., The Hygenic Corp. and Performance Health LLC. The lawsuit accused the makers of TheraBand of negligence and failure to warn.

As an attorney for the band makers approached a lectern to Reid’s right for cross-examination, the former lawmaker looked ahead and said, “I can’t see you.”

The attorney, Laurin Quiat, then pointed out through his questioning that Reid had performed the exercise several times and had used exercise bands before suffering his injuries.

Quiat showed jurors a photograph of an exercise room with a treadmill and cushions on the hardwood floor.

“You could have done your exercises in the exercise room?” Quiat asked.

“I don’t know what I would have hooked the TheraBand to,” Reid replied.

The lawyer said in his questioning that Reid instead used the band in a bathroom with “hard floors, hard cabinets and hard countertops.”

Reid destroyed the medical-grade resistance band that he blamed for blinding him in one eye, Quiat told jurors earlier this week.

The company’s attorney argued that the injuries Reid suffered were his own fault.

Quiat asked Reid whether the injury occurred “because of a defect in the band.”

“If there had been handles on it, I wouldn’t have been hurt,” Reid said. “There was a defect in the band in that it didn’t have handles on it … I would never use those bands again, and I would never ever use those bands unless they had a handle on them.”

Reid’s testimony is expected to resume Friday.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
BLM whistleblower regains job in Nevada after firing

Craig Hoover, a rangeland specialist with the federal agency, said he was terminated after reporting illegal livestock grazing in eastern Nevada.