TRENTON, N.J. – David Chase offered his version Tuesday in federal court of dealings 12 years ago with a former New Jersey municipal court judge who claims he supplied ideas for "The Sopranos" and never got credit.
Chase testified he had always been interested in the mob since watching "The Untouchables" television series as a child.
At issue is whether the services Robert Baer provided during Chase's development of "The Sopranos" pilot should be compensated, and if so, their value.
Baer, also an aspiring screenwriter and former prosecutor, arranged meetings with experts during a three-day tour of New Jersey mob sites in 1995.
Baer's attorney finished presenting his case Monday.
Chase's attorney, Peter Skolnik, said he expected to question his client for at least two hours Tuesday morning.
Also expected to testify are an expert witness, Jake Jacobson, and Dan Castleman, the Manhattan district attorney who provided consulting services to Chase after Fox Broadcasting declined to pick up "The Sopranos" and Chase needed a "true Mafia expert" to help him as he rewrote the script. HBO later picked it up.
Baer testified that he declined Chase's offer of payment several times but said Chase agreed to "take care of him" if the show became a hit.
In court documents, Chase has called Baer "self-delusional."
Chase said he was "keenly aware of a `mob presence' in New Jersey" because he grew up in the Garden State.