The first week of trial wrapped up this afternoon, and Jamie McCourt had yet to be subjected to the stylings of Steve Susman. That much-anticipated encounter will not occur now until September 20--assuming there is still an issue to be tried at that point. Sources are mixed on just how far Jamie and Frank are apart in settlement talks. While many--myself included--speculated that the two week break would be especially conducive to settlement talks, the pace of the trial has changed things a bit.
Because Jamie hasn't faced the same scrutiny on cross as Frank did on direct, it's not especially meaningful to say one party is ahead or behind. It's excellent strategy on Boies' part. While I imagined he would keep Frank on the stand through Wednesday to win the night's headlines before handing him back to Susman, I didn't think far enough ahead to recognize he'd make essentially the same play with Jamie. She goes into the break with the public still buzzing about Frank's admissions on the stand.
And some interesting admissions they were. In my absence, and in no particular order, Gene Maddaus, Bill Shaikin, Molly Knight, John Weinbach, Carla Hall, and several others kept you well-informed about the goings-on in trial. From Frank's not-so-subtle communication with Susman to Jamie's first answers on the stand to apparent drama in the room next door, the end of the week wasn't short on interesting occurrences.
I'll try to get much deeper into what we learned this week from a big-picture perspective once I return from the family obligation that has kept me away, but here is a quick rundown of the lay of the land: The parties break for two weeks to accommodate Judge Gordon's calendar and--ostensibly--attempt to make some progress toward a settlement. Because of where we're at in the proceedings, I'm not sure Frank's side is in a position to demand its goal in a deal--whatever that is. For the same reason, I wouldn't be surprised if Jamie's team is trying to negotiate from a stronger position than it might have earned.
Assuming we are back in court on the 20th, Susman will get his chance with Jamie and we will move on to Frank's witnesses. I've heard from several people that Larry Silverstein will indeed make an appearance early that week, but I'll believe it when I see it. The rest of Frank's witnesses are expected to testify as to Jamie's specific intention to remove herself from the success or failure of the Dodgers, and Jamie's attorneys will try to show that such statements are inconsistent with her actions and experiences. The trial is moving along slowly, and it will likely reach the week of the 27th, as well. Once it concludes, Judge Gordon will have up to 90 days to make a decision on the matter, and then the statutory deadlines are set for any potential appeals. We're not close to through yet.
Thanks for the encouragement and support this week. It's been exciting. Barring a settlement, I'll see you in LA on the 20th.