Lawyer who drafted marital agreement to testify in McCourt divorce case

By Greg Risling, AP
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lawyer to explain his role in McCourt divorce case

LOS ANGELES — The Boston attorney who represented Jamie and Frank McCourt will likely be a key witness when he’s expected to testify Tuesday at the couple’s divorce trial.

Larry Silverstein , who drafted a postnuptial marital agreement for the couple, will have to tell a judge why there are three versions that say the Los Angeles Dodgers belong solely to Frank McCourt, and three copies that say the team doesn’t.

The fate of the Dodgers could hinge on whether Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon decides whether the pact is valid or isn’t. He could order the sale of the team.

Silverstein’s actions will be called into question six years after he gave the McCourts the copies to sign in March 2004 shortly after the Dodgers were bought for about $430 million.

Frank McCourt’s attorneys chalked up the difference in the documents to a typographical error.

Jamie McCourt’s legal team has questioned why Silverstein later replaced three versions that excluded the Dodgers, the stadium and the surrounding property as Frank McCourt’s separate property with three that included the assets as his own and failed to tell their client about the replacement.

It wasn’t until a few months ago after forensic analysts were hired by both sides to examine the six copies that it was determined Silverstein made the changes.

Meanwhile, Silverstein also will testify about what he told the couple the marital agreement intended to do. In a deposition taken in April, he said that he went through the documents “paragraph by paragraph” with the McCourts.

On Monday, Jamie McCourt testified no one told her what the pact entailed and what would happen if the couple divorced. She also said she didn’t read the document.

She said she relied on her husband and Silverstein and she thought the agreement was only meant to protect a half-dozen luxurious homes in her name from her husband’s business creditors. She added if she had read the document or comprehended she would give up the rights to the Dodgers, it would have “sounded a lot of alarms” and she would have posed questions to Silverstein.

“I believe I understood it, but it did more than what it was intended to do,” she said.

Under questioning by Frank McCourt’s attorney Steve Susman, Jamie McCourt said her husband never coerced or threaten her to sign the agreement. When asked whose fault it was for her not to read the agreement, she admitted she should have.

“I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault to read it but myself,” she said.

Susman noted that during a deposition earlier this year, Jamie McCourt said the reason she didn’t read the agreement was because reviewing legal documents was boring. During the afternoon session, Susman methodically went over the agreement with her, asking her questions if she knew what the terms meant. In some of the instances, she said even today she didn’t understand it.

Outside of court, Susman said Jamie McCourt’s testimony wasn’t believable.

“It’s as fictional as Harry Potter,” he said.

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