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McCourt lawyer defends contract changes

September 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The bitter McCourt divorce battle to determine who should have ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers continued Thursday with important testimony from the couple's former lawyer.Lawyer Larry Silverstein testified for the third day about why he changed crucial wording of a marital property agreement concerning the Dodgers and why he didn't tell his clients.

"You have a witness that is flying like a weathervane in a hurricane. He says one thing one day another thing another day," said Jamie McCourt's attorney David Boies.

Silverstein admitted that he switched the words "exclusive" and "inclusive" rights in some property agreement documents he prepared for the couple while they were married and did not notify them of them of the changes.

Silverstein was the couple's estate planner in Mass. He testified that their objective in signing the property agreements was clear ? separate the assets so Frank McCourt's business creditors could never seize her real estate. Silverstein changed a word in an exhibit, then switched pages after the documents were signed.

"I think Mr. Boies asks tough questions," countered Silverstein. "They're difficult to follow, he plays word games, he switches up the words."

In an effort to get straight answers Judge Scott Gordon took over the questioning. Referring to Jamie McCourt he said, "Did she ever tell you you could change the pieces of paper? No. That man over there [Frank McCourt] - did he ever tell you you could change two pieces of paper? No."

Silverstein explained there were different drafts, some with mistaken language. He said he was trying to conform the versions that were incorrect. He said he found one mistake and changed it before it was signed. After that he said the found that the old draft had gotten into thee of the execution copies by accident so he changed it again.

On the issue of whether Jamie had wanted the Dodgers, Silverstein said even four years after the document was signed, a trust was proposed to Jamie which would list her as a Dodger owner but it required her to submit a form to be approved by Major League Baseball. Silverstein claimed Jamie refused to sign the form.

Jamie's attorneys did not accept that as valid, asserting that Silverstein's actions with the documents trumped everything. "To switch it on Jamie before she signed it was an ethical breach. To switch it after it was notorized is worse than that," said Boies.

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