Host of Hollywood Fundraiser for Kamala Harris Employs Her Lawyer Husband

Harris's husband defended Universal Studios in 'Straight Outta Compton' wrongful death suit

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 27: U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) waves to her supporters with her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and her niece / Getty Images
• February 2, 2019 5:00 am


The film executive host of an upcoming Hollywood fundraiser for Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) has previously retained the legal services of her husband, a partner at DLA Piper.

Jeff Shell, an executive at Universal Studios, will host Harris at his home on Saturday. The fundraiser is "expected to draw heavily on entertainment industry supporters," according to a Variety report.

Shell has emerged as a force in political fundraising circles, hosting former President Barack Obama at his home last year to raise money for Claire McCaskill's failed reelection campaign. Federal candidates in past years that have received his support include fellow Democratic 2020 contenders Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), but not Harris.

One possible connection to Harris could be her husband Doug Emhoff, who defended Universal Studios in a high profile lawsuit connected to a murder that occurred during the filming of Straight Outta Compton.

The lawsuit was filed by the family of Terry Carter, a man who was murdered by rapper Suge Knight as he tried to mediate an argument between filmmakers and Knight, who was featured negatively in the N.W.A. biopic. The family argued that the studio was partially liable for Carter's death because of the way it handled the threat of violence from Knight.

Emhoff argued on behalf of Universal Studios in a California appeals court, which ruled in his favor.

The case is one of the top listed accomplishments on his DLA Piper biography, which states that he defended a "highly publicized wrongful death action brought against a production company that was producing promotional content for a major motion picture."

The Harris campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the fundraiser and whether Emhoff was involved in putting it together.

It is unclear whether Shell will hold fundraisers for any other candidates for president.