LOS ANGELES -- Frank McCourt testified Tuesday in his
divorce trial that a now-contested postnuptial agreement was his
wife's idea to protect her assets from his creditors.
McCourt, 57, took the stand late in the day and mostly recalled
his conversations the weeks before he and his wife, former Dodgers
CEO Jamie McCourt, signed the agreement in March 2004.
The validity of the pact is at the center of the 11-day trial in
which a judge could decide whether McCourt has to share ownership
of the Dodgers with his wife, who filed for divorce in October
after nearly 30 years of marriage.
His testimony also could elicit new details about the inner
workings of one of baseball's more storied franchises, but will
likely focus on the couple's recollections of what the agreement
was supposed to provide.
McCourt contends the pact gives him sole ownership of the
Dodgers, the stadium and the surrounding property, while Jamie
McCourt believes the agreement should be thrown out and those
assets should be split evenly under California's community property
Sporting a blue suit with a powder blue tie, McCourt answered
questions from attorney David Boies, one of the nation's top
litigators best known for challenging California's ban on gay
marriage, as well as for defending Al Gore in the disputed 2000
Boies asked McCourt about Jamie McCourt's desire to keep her
nest egg separate from the assets of her husband, a Boston
developer who had several failed ventures before finding success
and using his money to purchase the Dodgers in 2004 for $430
million. Their postnuptial agreement calls for Jamie McCourt to
receive a half-dozen luxurious homes, worth about $80 million.
"I knew creditor protection was very important to Jamie,"
Frank McCourt said. The marital agreement was his wife's idea and
he wasn't looking for a quid-pro-quo deal, he added.
"I wasn't looking for something in return," said McCourt.
Jamie McCourt's attorneys claim their client was duped by
McCourt and a family attorney when the agreement was signed. They
said six copies were shown to the couple in Massachusetts, but only
three listed the Dodgers as McCourt's separate assets.
Boies asked McCourt if he had spoken with his wife or the family
lawyer about not only getting Jamie McCourt the protection she
sought from creditors, but also preserving her rights to the
"I was not aware of any such discussion," McCourt said.
"Did you ever consider that?" Boies asked.
"No," McCourt responded.
McCourt's attorneys have painted his wife as money-hungry once
the Dodgers began to succeed on the field. It wasn't until mid-2008
that she made her intentions known that she wanted the homes in her
name but everything else, including the team, to be held jointly.
Earlier Tuesday, an estate planning attorney testified that she
spent months drafting a new version of the agreement per the
couple's request to make the Dodgers community property. Leah
Bishop recalled McCourt directing her to fix the document.
Bishop said that despite a series of e-mails and letters
exchanged among her, the couple and their advisers between August
2008 and early 2009, McCourt never expressed concern about sharing
the team with Jamie McCourt until May 2009 when he sent an e-mail
Two months later, Bishop said she met with McCourt for more than
three hours where he opened up to her about his marriage.
McCourt said his wife wanted to be part of his businesses after
they moved to California from Massachusetts, Bishop testified. Once
she was elevated to be the Dodgers' chief executive officer, he
told Bishop that she was creating "stress" in the front office.
"He said she was lacking rationality," Bishop recalls him
saying. "He said he just realized that she thinks she can run the
team. That's a total disconnect."
She added McCourt said he wanted to focus on his companies and
thought it best if his wife wasn't involved with the Dodgers.
"He wanted her to do something else that occupies her time, and
it wasn't the Los Angeles Dodgers," Bishop said.
Under cross-examination by Frank McCourt's attorney Steve
Susman, Bishop recalled McCourt cried at one point during the
As much as Bishop testified about her understanding of what the
legal documents contained, she also gave some insight into how the
couple's relationship operated.
"For as long as I knew Frank and Jamie, which was about a year,
they bickered constantly in front of me and in front of other
people," Bishop said. "Jamie would say, 'Oh, that's just how we
are.' I naively thought they would take care of this."