This one’s a little about me. But it’s also about the site, and the trial. Still, it’s a little about me.
Over the last several days, I’ve been asked by several folks—from interviewers to emailers—about the value of being in court. Even more interestingly, I was asked by a Twitter follower how I could afford to attend the proceedings (hint: the same way I afford groceries). As I’m stuck in an airport tonight, I figure I might as well describe the experience of attending the McCourt divorce trial.
To begin with, I’ll note that I was fortunate enough to get a media seat in the courtroom. This only turned out to matter the first day, but was still both an affirmation of what I’ve done here and a significant help to my mental state; I was ready to pull some high-level chicanery to get in, and I was happy that wasn’t necessary. Of course, it turns out that being in the courtroom is a small part of the experience.
Without a doubt, the most meaningful part of attending the first few days of the trial was the hallway. It is in this small space I was able to interact with members of the media, which proved to be extremely helpful. Comparing notes, opinions, and information made everyone’s work better. And, of course, it’s always great to put faces to names. As a newly minted—if minted at all—member of the media, it was extremely helpful to follow others’ leads and at least pretend to know what I was doing.
For as helpful as speaking to reporters, anchors, and columnists was, the hallway was also a terrific place to speak to the parties and their representatives. Much of what I learned from those conversations has made Twitter; the availability of Larry Silverstein, the expected timetable of the trial, and the ability of either McCourt to buy out the other were items I was excited to report (see! I’m getting the lingo!) during the course of the trial.
The other benefit, of course, is the information I was able to pick up just by being around. Watching the McCourts interact with each other told me a little about how they feel about a settlement; seeing where the lawyers left off told me a lot more. (Hint: they’re not especially close) These folks might be in close discussions about ending this thing peaceably—I’ve heard from very close people that that’s the case—but, if so, they’re doing a terrific job of hiding it.
I don’t mean to say that you need to be in the courtroom to get a feel for how things are going. You don’t. Bill Shaikin very much deserves some sort of award for his work on this issue, and several others have done a great job covering it. I certainly hope I’m in that group, and I know I was much more helpful to you on the days I was in court than the days I wasn’t.
On that note, I’m planning to be back in town when this circus resumes. It killed me to miss Thursday and Friday last week, but I’d promised my nephew, Cameron, that I’d take him on a particular hunting trip several years ago. I hate that I wasn’t in court those days, but I would hate even more telling my nephew something he had been looking forward to for three years got cancelled because some rich people didn’t get along anymore.
That’s, of course, too simplistic: the takeaway thus far is that Frank’s lawyer screwed this up--or--that Jamie pounced on an opportunity to get something she never bargained for. I would call the race even at this point—Frank was killed on direct by David Boies, but it’s unfair to bury him for that until Jamie undergoes the same scrutiny.
And so I make plans to come back to Los Angeles prior to the resumption of trial. As always, I welcome emails, comments, tweets, and vibes (good and bad).