Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day two notes.

At some point today, Frank McCourt will take the stand. It is sure to be a highlight of the trial, and I'll pass along information as possible. McCourt's examination under oath won't begin until the parties finish with Leah Bishop, who is still under direct examination by Jamie's attorneys. Some other notes:

--Superstar trial attorney David Boies, working for Jamie, said he believed this part of the trial could be concluded by the eighth scheduled day, which is September 22. His co-counsel Dennis Wasser was surprised to hear this prediction, saying only that anything could happen. After this week, the parties have a scheduled two-week recess designed to encourage friendly talks.

--Wasser and Susman spent several minutes yesterday in a private meeting with Judge Gordon. The topic of the meeting was the potential availability of the McCourts' Boston attorney, Larry Silverstein. While Judge Gordon came out of the meeting expressing optimism, neither Wasser nor Michael Kump expect Silverstein to be made available. This is unfortunate because of his integral role in the case; his drafting error (or perhaps something worse) is a key issue.

--Jamie was much more animated during yesterday's session, not surprising given her style in handling the press in the months leading up to trial. She would occasionally shake her head when Susman made a statement she disagreed with, and she preferred to look straight at him from her seat. Frank was more reserved, oriented more toward the front of the courtroom.

--Wasser said that if his client, Jamie McCourt, won her case, she would be unable to buy Frank out herself. He also said the sides aren't close on a settlement, and that he doesn't expect the entire issue to be resolved this month. If Frank loses on the MPA, it is suspected he will advance another line of argument based on events that happened prior to the couple's 1979 marriage.

Like yesterday, I'll update as possible. Twitter is easiest. And I'll try to make the day's wrap-up a bit more digestible.
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  1. Why isn't Silverstein being made available? It seems like he's the linchpin to the whole thing and his testimony would be extremely helpful to one side... I know that Gordon doesn't have the power to subpoena people in family court but I'm curious why Frank McCourt's people aren't trying to get Silverstein into court to testify (if they believe that the conflicted MPAs were a drafting error...)

  2. How could anything prior to their 1979 marriage be relevant to the proceedings? Are we grasping at straws Frank?

  3. Since Silverstein is not within the reach of a Superior Court subpoena with respect to bringing him into court, he can be deposed in Boston and that testimony can be presented. Perhaps that's been done. I wonder in light of the attorney client privilege how extensive his testimony would be.

  4. I am surprised that this circus has gone on so long. It is clear that Frank and Jamie (together) intended to split the risky, highly leveraged, "business" assets from the safer, less leveraged "residential" assets.

    The Dodgers clearly were, and still are, a part of the web of debt and leverage. Jamie only covets them because the "safer" bet turned out to not be so safe.

    That no one has called her on the "I trusted my husband and signed what he gave me" is ludicrous, given that she is a member of the bar and was general counsel of the Dodgers.

  5. " If Frank loses on the MPA, it is suspected he will advance another line of argument based on events that happened prior to the couple's 1979 marriage. "

    This doesn't make any sense... Frank using the MPA to stave off paying Jamie half of their total assets wasn't exactly the greatest legal strategy to start off with. Hence why a settlement is necessary.

    There is no "fallback" argument. They have been married for close to 30 years. They worked on numerous projects together, she worked as general counsel to the McCourt Company. No bombproof pre nuptial agreement would stand up after 29 years of marriage.

  6. @Anonymous - the thing is, if the discrepancy between the two drafts of the MPA, i.e. inclusive/exclusive _is_ a clerical error, why wouldn't Frank McCourt pay for Silverstein to come out and testify? I know a lot of lawyers who are busy but really? And as Anon speculated, Silverstein could be deposed in Boston and his testimony read into records here. I don't understand.

    Client/attorney privilege can be waived but also, I don't think clerical errors fall under the scope of client/attorney privilege?

  7. Was the California agreement signed after the Massachusetts agreement, and was it to fix the Massachusetts agreement, which did not give the Dodgers to Frank?