McCourt Divorce Trial, Day Nine: As Settlement Talks Loom, Larry Silverstein Completes The Worst Three Days Of His Life
Day Nine. The Dodgers are 12.5 games out of first place. Since the trial started on Aug. 30, the Dodgers' record is 6-15.
Larry Silverstein stepped down from the witness stand for the last time this afternoon, after what had to be three of the worst days of his life.
The Harvard-trained estate lawyer drafted Frank and Jamie's marital property agreement. By his own admission, he screwed up three copies of the agreement, a mistake that could end up costing Frank the Dodgers.
Under relentless questioning from David Boies, Silverstein flipped and flopped, felt dizzy, and couldn't remember things that happened the day before.
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"You've got a witness that's flying around like a weathervane in a hurricane," Boies said outside court. "He has one story after another story after another story, and each story doesn't make sense."
Naturally, Frank's side has a different view. Steve Susman, Frank's lead counsel, argued that Silverstein held up fairly well, considering he had endured three days of trial testimony and four days of depositions.
"Anyone who can withstand that kind of questioning by David Boies without getting down on their knees and saying 'I am guilty, I confess,' has got to be telling the truth," Susman said.
Silverstein did manage to get across several points that are helpful to Frank. For one thing, he said Jamie never asked for joint ownership of the Dodgers. In fact, he said Jamie was emphatic that she would not sign documents indemnifying Major League Baseball, which is required of team owners.
"She said she wasn't going to sign any bleeping MLB forms," he said.
He also defended of his own reputation, which has taken a beating over the last three days. Asked if he had favored Frank's interests over Jamie's in drafting the agreement, he was adamant that he had not.
"There'd be no reason to do it, and I wouldn't do it anyway," he said. "That's not the way I operate."
But Judge Scott Gordon seemed to grow increasingly skeptical of Silverstein, as he changed his testimony on several points. From his questions, Gordon seemed to have doubts about Silverstein's grasp of California divorce law. He also appeared displeased with Silverstein's decision to switch schedules on the marital agreement after it had been signed.
Frank's lawyer, Victoria Cook, attempted to get Silverstein to admit he had erred by not telling Frank and Jamie of the switch.
Cook: Do you admit it was a mistake?
Silverstein: I admit it was not the best practice. I don't know if it was a mistake. It was not the right practice.
Silverstein had every reason to be careful on that question, because any admission he makes in the divorce case could be used in a malpractice suit.
With his testimony now concluded, both sides will head back to court on Friday for a closed-door mediation session with Judge Peter Lichtman. Hard to say how that will go. Both sides say they are serious and are optimistic they can reach a deal. That could be true, or it could be what you have to say to demonstrate good faith.
The media has been told to camp outside. If no deal is reached, the trial will resume on Monday.
Full McCourt coverage:
Week 1 Wrap-Up:
Even more McCourt:
L.A. Weekly cover story, Dodger Dog, from August
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