One of David Copperfield‘s most famous disappearing acts was opened up for the public review  during testimony for a negligence lawsuit.

Copperfield is being sued for negligence by Gavin Cox, a British man who claimed he was hurt while participating in the act. He’s claiming brain and other injuries to his body from falling during the act that have cost him over $400,000 in medical care. The executive producer Chris Kenner revealed to jurors the “magic” behind making 12 audience members disappear on stage.


“Practiced stage hands with flashlights hurried randomly chosen participants thought dark curtains, down unfamiliar passageways, around corners, outdoors, indoors and through an MGM Grand resort kitchen in time to re-enter the back of the theater for their ‘reappearance’ during the show finale,” Kenner said.

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Cox’s lawyer Benedict Morelli asked, “Is that route an obstacle course?” Kenner responded, “No.”

Copperfield’s lawyer tried to keep the public in the dark about the secrets of the act but lost. MGM Grand Hotel attorney Jerry Popovich said the illusion was no longer used to close the show.

Morelli asked if Copperfield and stagehands involved with the trick judged the “physical fitness” or “footwear” of the participants that were randomly picked. The only disqualifying factor stated was that they couldn’t be magicians, media members or lawyers.

Morelli asked Kenner if the audience was informed of what they would be doing before the act began. “They’re told as they are running the route, correct?” he asked. Kenner replied, “Yes.” He also declined to say if the methods for the act were dangerous.

Morelli stated before Cox fell, the group was running through an alley “coated in construction dust.”

Popovich told the jury Copperfield previously walked the same route alone and would have told stagehands of any dangers or “problems along the way.”

Cox and his wife aren’t seeking specific damages in the lawsuit. Copperfield could take the stand on Wednesday.