Woman Sues Over Podcast on Woody Harrelson's Dad

Dr. Chrysanthe Parker: 'Son of a Hitman' unfairly paints me as 'very unusual witness' in murder trial
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2021 6:11 AM CST
Woman Sues Over Podcast on Woody Harrelson's Dad
Charles Harrelson.   (Houston Police Department)

A Texas attorney and health care professional who was an eyewitness to the murder that put actor Woody Harrelson's father behind bars is now suing Spotify and others on the use of her interview for a podcast about the crime. Per Courthouse News, Dr. Chrysanthe Parker was a witness for the prosecution in the murder trial of Charles Harrelson, who assassinated her neighbor, federal Judge John H. Wood Jr., in 1979. In her nine-page defamation lawsuit filed Wednesday, Parker claims that, of the 90 minutes of sit-down time she gave to Son of a Hitman podcast host Jason Cavanagh, less than five minutes was used in one episode of the 10-episode series to depict her as "a very unusual witness" in Harrelson's trial. She contends the podcast "purposely leads the audience to the false conclusion that Dr. Parker ... was either complicit or actively participated in manufacturing evidence to perpetuate an unfair trial on Charles Harrelson."

Specifically, Parker says the podcast suggests Harrelson's conviction was based on FBI interviews with her obtained via hypnosis, with Cavanagh calling it a "display of questionable judgment," per Reason. Parker says any interviews done under hypnosis weren't used by the prosecution. She also says that, had she known Woody Harrelson's brothers, Brett and Jordan, were involved in the podcast's production, she never would've gotten involved, as they (and Woody) have long insisted on their father's innocence. "The podcast is much more akin to the reality TV style of Tiger King rather than the journalistic rigor of Serial," the complaint notes. Parker says the way she was portrayed in the podcast has hurt her reputation and muddied job opportunities for her as an expert witness in court cases involving PTSD. She's seeking damages in excess of $75,000. Charles Harrelson died in a Colorado prison in 2007. (More Woody Harrelson stories.)

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