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Dodgers at stake in McCourts divorce trial

August 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a case of he-said-she-said, Frank and Jamie McCourt began their divorce trial with ownership of the Dodgers at stake.Jamie McCourt ignored media cameras as she walked into the Superior Court building in downtown Los Angeles Monday morning.

It's the start of yet another chapter in the McCourt's divorce with each side continuing to fight for ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise and its assets.

At issue is a postnuptial agreement signed by both parties in 2004 that reportedly states Frank McCourt is the sole owner. However, Jamie McCourt's legal team says she never signed that particular version of the agreement.

Her attorney, Dennis Wasser, told the judge on Monday that the document she signed made the team community property. Wasser also said that two weeks after signing that version, Frank McCourt's lawyer switched the wording of the paperwork, granting full ownership to Frank instead.

Legal analysts say the fate of the Dodgers lies in the hands of the judge, who will ultimately have to determine the validity of the agreement in question.

"She's saying that he didn't disclose everything. Mr. McCourt is saying, 'We did. She did. We were all represented by five or six lawyers who are experts in the field of prenuptial agreements,'" explained celebrity divorce attorney Michael Kelly. "Therefore, on this one single issue, if the prenup is good, it will cost Mrs. McCourt hundreds of millions of dollars."

On the other side, Frank McCourt's attorney, Steve Susman, said Jamie McCourt knew what she was doing when she signed away her ownership rights to the team. Suseman also said that Jamie McCourt signed the postnuptial agreement because she didn't want her husband's creditors going after the couple's six luxury homes listed under her name.

In fact, witnesses are expected to testify on Frank McCourt's behalf that Jamie knowingly signed away her rights to the team because she was worried about financial risks threatening her nest egg.

If the judge rules in Frank McCourt's favor, he will hold on to the ownership of the Dodgers. If the judge rules in favor of Jamie McCourt, the team is then considered community property and is split equally in half between the two sides.

Frank McCourt said that if that happens, the team will likely go up for sale.

The judge has 90 days in which to issue his ruling.

The McCourts married in 1979. Frank McCourt booted his wife from the front office as the team's CEO after the playoffs last year, accusing her of having an affair.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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