The former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers junior partner who accused a married colleague of pressuring her into having an affair in 2006 testified that his apology afterward and his "valuable" role at the firm drove her decision not to seek his firing.
Ellen Pao, whose gender-bias trial against Kleiner is focusing new attention on Silicon Valley's male-centric culture, told jurors she was "furious" to learn that colleague Ajit Nazre had misled her about his separation from his wife. She said she waited a year after breaking off the tryst to tell her superiors, at which point her boss, managing partner John Doerr, said he wanted Mr. Nazre to be fired. Ms. Pao said she defended Mr. Nazre, saying that "professionally, he's really amazing."
"Ajit seems definitely sorry, and I doubt he'll do anything again," she wrote in an e-mail to another managing partner, Ted Schlein. "I don't want to be directly involved, but I think you guys should help him. He's in bad shape."
Ms. Pao said she supported Mr. Nazre even though she believed he was retaliating against her after the affair. She told the state-court jury in San Francisco he didn't share important investing information with her and cut her out of the loop from several entrepreneurs with whom she was working.
She also said she had heard from another partner that three other women at the firm had complained about sexual harassment and she thought Mr. Nazre might be the harasser.
Ms. Pao, 45, accuses the venture capital firm of passing her over for a promotion, subjecting her to a hostile work environment and eventually firing her after she complained about Mr. Nazre.
Kleiner denies any gender discrimination or retaliation against Ms. Pao. It says she was advised to leave the firm because she was hard to get along with, had no experience as an entrepreneur and lacked expertise in strategic markets for investments.
The firm also contends Ms. Pao never formally complained that Mr. Nazre harassed her until she hired a lawyer five years after their consensual affair. An investigation determined that Ms. Pao's claims were meritless, Kleiner has said. Kleiner, one of the most successful venture capital firms, was one of the early investors in Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. and Nest Labs Inc.
Ms. Pao is seeking as much as $16-million (U.S.) in lost pay and future earnings . She is now interim chief executive officer of the news-aggregation site Reddit Inc. She is expected to continue testifying through Tuesday.
Mr. Nazre, who left the firm in 2012 and works in India, said before the trial that Kleiner has denied Ms. Pao's allegations about him and referred questions about the case to the firm. He isn't a defendant in the case.
The firm has said Mr. Nazre was fired after an investigation found he harassed another female partner, Trae Vassallo. She complained that Mr. Nazre showed up at her New York hotel room one night on a 2011 business trip in his bathrobe asking to come in.