McCourts' trial to decide Dodgers fate

LOS ANGELES It's been an ugly and very public split which promises to become even more public next week. Some think this negative publicity could be affecting the Dodgers as a team.

"The publicity that comes from this sort of thing and the uncertainty - financial and otherwise - is not healthy for anybody affiliated with the organization," said Professor Dan Lazaroff at Loyola Law School.

That uncertainty may be why Frank McCourt this week gave away a million and a half dollars worth of tickets, one of the largest charitable donations in Dodgers history.

The trial next week will focus on determining which of six documents is the definitive one that spells out the division of property, including the Dodger team. Three show it belongs to Frank, while the other three recently uncovered documents show his wife shared ownership.

Jamie McCourt contended that she signed the former three documents years ago to protect her from creditors in case they ran into debt. She agreed at the time that she would retain all of the houses, worth several million dollars, and he would get the Dodgers team.

"I think the judge will look at whether it was a fair agreement at the time they signed it, not whether it is fair now. If they don't consider it fair now they should have renegotiated something along the way," said Professor Charlotte Goldberg at Loyola Law School.

A representative of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball will take the stand next week. He must approve the owners and the organization currently only recognized Frank McCourt.

There will likely be more pretrial motions before arguments get under way. The trial is expected to last 11 days.

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