Jamie McCourt holds to her story

McCourt in­sists in tes­ti­mony she did not re­al­ize agree­ment would mean Frank got sole own­er­ship of the Dodgers in a divorce.

Los Angeles Times - - Front Page - Carla Hall and Bill Shaikin

Tes­ti­mony in the Dodgers divorce case fo­cuses on the for­mer lawyer’s as­ser­tion that she didn’t un­der­stand cru­cial le­gal doc­u­ments.

Jamie McCourt earned a law de­gree, made Law Re­view, re­ceived an MBA and worked as gen­eral coun­sel for a real es­tate com­pany. But she also signed one of the most im­por­tant doc­u­ments of her life with­out read­ing it, she says: the agree­ment that gave her hus­band sole own­er­ship of the cou­ple’s prized pos­ses­sion, the Dodgers.

On Mon­day, the sixth day of the bit­ter divorce trial of Jamie and Frank McCourt — one that could im­pact own­er­ship of Los An­ge­les’ cher­ished Ma­jor League Base­ball club — Jamie was stead­fast in her in­sis­tence that she didn’t re­al­ize what the con­tract meant if they were to split up.

Frank’s at­tor­ney, Steve Sus­man, read back part of Jamie’s de­po­si­tion in which she said about the agree­ment, “I still don’t un­der­stand it as I sit here to­day. . . . It’s over my head.” He also plucked out of her de­po­si­tion her two-word ex­pla­na­tion for gen­er­ally not read­ing le­gal doc­u­ments: “It’s bor­ing.”

All were jar­ring ad­mis­sions to hear from McCourt, who took pride in be­ing the high­est-rank­ing woman in base­ball be­fore her hus­band fired her last year.

And Sus­man wasn’t buy­ing it.

“That was as fic­tional as Harry Pot­ter,” Sus­man said out­side the courthouse as the shiny black stretch bus that fer­ries Frank McCourt’s le­gal team to and from court awaited them.

At is­sue in this trial is the va­lid­ity of the cou­ple’s agree­ment — some­thing fur­ther com­pli­cated by the fact that both McCourts in­ad­ver­tently signed dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the con­tract.

McCourt tes­ti­fied that she didn’t read any of the copies care­fully be­cause the cou­ple’s Mas­sachusetts lawyer, Larry Sil­ver­stein, told her the agree­ment would ac­com­plish what she con­tends they both wanted — to shield their mil­lions of dol­lars of per­sonal real es­tate from busi­ness cred­i­tors by mak-

The Dodgers’ trial re­sumes Mon­day, the court­room is al­ready abuzz be­cause a few min­utes ear­lier Jamie

McCourt’s car rolled back into a pedes­trian.

Awoman has been hit, so first re­ports it’s Frank

McCourt are not true. The woman is hurt, but ap­par­ently not se­ri­ously. A wit­ness says Jamie made no move to get out of the car to check on her. Af­ter all, it’s not a jury trial.

Later, Jamie is grilled about the in­ci­dent by Page 2, by now ev­ery­one know­ing it’s her driver who hit the woman.

“Was the driver, Jeff?” she’s asked. Jeff was her chauf­feur with the Dodgers, and ac­cord­ing to her hus­band, Frank, a Dodgers em­ployee who didn’t mind work­ing over­time if she needed it.

Jamie fin­gers the woman sit­ting next to her for hit­ting the pedes­trian, no one seem­ingly alarmed be­cause one of Jamie’s lawyers is in the back­seat at the time of the ac­ci­dent and is al­ready on re­tainer.

Speak­ing of Jeff, even though she isn’t, two weeks ago, Jamie sat next to her lawyers in the court­room with a Star­bucks cup in front of her with Jeff ’s name on it.

On the stand now, she drinks from a white Sty­ro­foam cup with no name on it, and sur­pris­ingly none of the attorneys ask her whether it’s the first time in her life she’s drunk from such a thing.

Jamie on the stand is a moment all of L.A. should wit­ness, be­cause she is the self-de­scribed “face of the Dodgers.” No cam­eras are al­lowed, so it’s up to

Mona Shafer Ed­wards, a fashion il­lus­tra­tor, sit­ting where the ju­rors would be if this wasn’t a case left to the judge to de­cide.

“I’ve been study­ing both of them,” she says. “He’s so but­toned up; he al­ways looks like he’s hold­ing it in … and just might ex­plode at any time.

“His suits are gor­geous with side vents, which make a man’s back look bet­ter. And the dim­ple on his tie [be­neath the knot] is al­ways per­fect.”

As for “Size 0,” as Jamie was de­scribed in a USA To­day story years ago, “When she wears a color, it’s the same from top to heels, so she looks taller,” says Ed­wards. “If you’re short, you don’t want to chop your­self up with two col­ors. To­day it’s all French vanilla; well no, it’s more like caramel with a beau­ti­ful seam on the back of her dress — which gives it a fish-tail feel to it.’’

She’s also wear­ing a ring that’s got to be worth a re­lief pitcher on her right hand, “a moon stone,” she says when asked. For the record, noth­ing on her left hand.

“She has a young boy’s body, no hips. She’s just all mus­cle,” says Ed­wards, who asks Jamie if there are lit­tle di­a­monds at­tached to her gold ear­rings.

“Don’t I wish,” says Jamie, poverty be­ing some­thing that’s hard on ev­ery­one.

Jamie can be so charm­ing, which sep­a­rates her from her hus­band. But on the wit­ness stand she sounds so dumb. Both Ed­wards and Page 2 no­tice the same thing: She ap­pears blon­der since her last ap­pear­ance.

“Chlo­rine,” Jamie, the swim­mer, ex­plains later.

She seems to re­mem­ber less than her hus­band, who couldn’t re­mem­ber the Dodgers’ last loss when it was prob­a­bly the night be­fore.

More than that, this is a woman who claims she never read or re­viewed the doc­u­ments in dis­pute, but ev­ery time Frank’s lawyer, Stephen Sus­man, asks her some­thing, she begs for time to study the ex­hibit he’s ref­er­enc­ing.

Judge Scott M. Gor­don is gnaw­ing the fin­gers on his left hand, a judge’s way of sti­fling a yawn. At one point, he seems to be pos­ing for Ed­wards.

“He does pose,” Ed­wards says, the judge a ready-made car­i­ca­ture with Phil

Don­ahue hair. “He’s very se­ri­ous about his hair. He has the best hair of all the judges.”

Ed­wards shows her lat­est sketch, il­lus­tra­tions ap­par­ently putting a good 20 pounds on most peo­ple, or maybe just judges. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see where Ed­wards is sit­ting to­day.

“He’s a ter­rific guy,” she says, “and a new­shound too.”

That ex­plains why Gor­don is sit­ting here let­ting the attorneys state the ob­vi­ous with­out ad­mon­ish­ment, any­thing to keep the me­dia around. By the way, any­one know what Judge Ito is do­ing these days?

The only time the judge speaks up is to stop Sus­man from be­lit­tling Jamie about her plans to be pres­i­dent of the United States. You know, just in case some day she’s the one pick­ing Supreme Court jus­tices.

Sus­man, mean­while, keeps re­mind­ing Jamie she’s un­der oath, which is un­der­stand­able be­cause she seems to have no me­mory. It gets so bad, she says, “I’m sorry, I might’ve for­got­ten your ques­tion.”

He shows her daily notes she took, in­clud­ing one about a trip to L.A.

“Frank freaks out,” she writes, “be­cause we land in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” Tell me you wouldn’t freak out land­ing in Iowa?

The note goes on to say, “That means Frank is YAM.” YAM stands for “yelling at me,” she says. Funny that the Scream­ing Meanie would have short­hand for such a thing.

The day ends with ev­ery­one won­der­ing which of the two, who have come off as losers so far, might be the win­ner.

“They are so per­fect for each other,” says Ed­wards. “I’d lock them in a Ra­mada Inn, ice ma­chine at the end of the hall, cof­fee in those lit­tle en­velopes, and make them spend the whole week­end talk­ing about why they got to­gether in the first place.”

Who knows? Maybe they would make up and go back to Bos­ton, where they didn’t seem to have these prob­lems.


Mona Shafer Ed­wards

Il­lus­tra­tion shows Jamie McCourt tes­ti­fy­ing as Judge Scott M. Gor­don lis­tens.

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