McCourt Divorce Trial, Day Five: Jamie Takes The Stand
Day Five. The Dodgers are 8 games out of the wild card.
Jamie McCourt took the stand late on Friday, answering often leading questions from her counsel, David Boies. Perhaps by design, it was too late in the day for Steve Susman to get a crack at her before a two-week break in the trial.
This is like hanging a steak just out of reach of a chained dog.
"I'm so anxious for the two weeks until the 20th," Susman said afterward. "I don't know what I'm going to do with myself."
If Frank and Jamie are going to settle, now would be a good time to do it. Think of it like a game of Texas Hold 'Em. The parties knew what their cards were going into trial, and now they've seen the flop. Both have to decide whether they want to see any more cards.
Dennis Wasser, Jamie's lead family law attorney, would have you believe that Jamie caught a flush somewhere during Frank's three and a half days of testimony.
"There have been several 'aha' moments," he said after court. "The case is in a dramatically different place than it was on Monday."
He may actually think that. But if Susman thinks he's beaten, he isn't letting it show.
At the postgame press conference, Susman was asked translate the case into a baseball score. "I think the score is 8-2," he said. (That's Frank 8, Jamie 2.) Somebody quipped "But with the Dodger bullpen..." That was a good line, but rest assured that Susman makes a lot more money than Hong-Chih Kuo.
If both sides really think they're winning, then neither has much added incentive to settle. Wasser, who has a reputation as a dealmaker, suggested that litigants might get tired as a trial drags on, and seek a settlement for that reason. But that would deprive Susman of his shot at Jamie, which he seems unlikely to pass up.
Jamie -- wearing lavender today -- was on the stand for about 30 minutes. She's got a tricky needle to thread. In his opening, Susman built her up as a talented, accomplished woman, placing special emphasis on her post-graduate degrees. His point is that it's impossible to believe that such an accomplished woman would sign an important document without reading it and understanding its consequences.
Jamie will have to explain that, and the more sophisticated she seems, the worse it is for her. Boies walked her through her claim that she was never told that the couple's marital property agreement would deprive her of the Dodgers in the event of a divorce.
"We were combining all the assets we created together, all our lives," she said. "Frank and I practically raised each other. The idea that I was just giving that up without remembering that or realizing what that means is just preposterous."
On his last day of testimony, Frank did his best to make Jamie seem like the Screaming Meanie that T.J. Simers always said she was. She demanded that he pay off the loans on her houses, then she bought more houses and took on more debt. She demanded $250 million in cash.
At one point, Frank said that if Jamie was concerned about her finances, she could choose to sell something from her "menu of houses."
But he struggled to put his foot down. In one e-mail which Jamie sent to various attorneys, she claimed half-ownership of the Dodgers. Frank wrote back: "pls talk to me before sending out emails like this."
"That's kind of namby-pamby," Susman said. "If it were my wife, I would have said something a little stronger. Why were you approaching this with kid gloves?"
"In retrospect, it may appear a little namby-pamby," Frank acknowledged. "I was trying not to throw another log on the fire. I hadn't figured out my marriage was over."
Susman claims Jamie was engaged in a "premeditated hostile takeover of the Dodgers."
"She's a team-breaker," he said.
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