LOS ANGELES - A reality-television producer told a jury yesterday that he believes that Ryan O'Neal stole an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett done in 1980.
Craig Nevius said he formed his opinion when he began working with the University of Texas at Austin as it sought to take the artwork from the actor.
The university claims in its lawsuit that Fawcett left the painting to the school as part of a donation but that O'Neal took it from Fawcett's condominium days after her death in 2009.
Nevius testified that he had conversations about the artwork with the actress and saw documents regarding ownership that she had signed when she loaned the portrait and a twin version also done by Warhol to a museum.
"I believe he stole it," Nevius testified about O'Neal. "I believe she owned it."
O'Neal's attorney attacked the credibility of Nevius, noting that the producer had been removed from a leadership position on a documentary about Fawcett's battle with cancer and had been involved in several lawsuits against O'Neal.
O'Neal says he had permission from the trustee of Fawcett's estate to remove the artwork and contends that it was a gift from Warhol for facilitating the portrait session with the "Charlie's Angels" star.
"The painting is mine," O'Neal previously told jurors.
Nevius acknowledged that he never heard Fawcett say she owned both portraits.
The university displays its version of the portrait in its Blanton Museum of Art and wants the second piece to display by its side.