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.
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.
NO CAMERAS ALLOWED:Mona Shafer Edwards
Illustration shows Jamie McCourt testifying as Judge Scott M. Gordon listens.