By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Actor Robert DeNiro is expected to appear in a Manhattan courtroom to testify about the theft of his deceased father's paintings at the trial of a former Upper East Side art gallery director that opened Friday.
It's not yet known at what point during what is expected to be a five-week trial of Leigh Morse, 55, the famous actor will take the witness stand. He'll make his courtroom cameo before Manhattan Supreme Court judge Michael Obus and a jury that was told he'd be coming in the DA's opening statements Friday morning.
"You will hear from Robert De Niro himself that the estate was never paid for those sales," Assistant District Attorney Kenn Kern told the jurors.
Morse worked for admitted high art scam artist Lawrence Salander, who pleaded guilty last year to defrauding Robert DeNiro Sr., John McEnroe and dozens of artists from October 1997 to November 2007.
She is accused of stealing $77,000 from DeNiro Sr. by selling two of his paintings to a San Francisco buyer, who wired the money directly to her personal account, prosecutors said.
DeNiro's father had no knowledge of the sale. the now defunct Salander-O'Reilly Galleries for which Morse worked was in charge of his artwork at the time.
The actor, who is now 67, took control of DeNiro Sr.'s paintings when his father passed away in 1993.
Morse's lawyer has argued the art theft was the work of her former boss, Salandar.