|Tuesday, December 17
Jordan's contention: $250K was the only agreement
CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan contends in court papers that the woman seeking $5 million from him agreed to take $250,000 to keep their relationship quiet once tests determined he did not father her child.
The basketball star is suing Karla Knafel to keep her from collecting on an alleged extortion attempt. Knafel and her lawyer have countered that Jordan agreed to pay $5 million for her silence so he could protect his image.
In court documents filed Monday, Jordan said Knafel demanded $5 million -- $1 million immediately and the remainder after paternity testing -- while she was pregnant in 1991. After the child's birth, according to Jordan, she and her lawyer agreed to a $250,000 payment.
"Both Knafel and her original attorney clearly understood that this was the only agreement between them," Jordan's court filing says. It contends she and an attorney each wrote to Jordan spelling out the timing for installments for "the finalization of our agreement."
Knafel's attorney, Michael Hannafan, said she had a "plain, valid and enforceable contract" with the former Chicago Bulls superstar.
Hannafan wants to question Jordan on Jan. 24 when his Washington Wizards are in Chicago to play the Bulls.
Knafel's counterclaim, filed Nov. 19, contends NBA referee Eddie Rush introduced the two over the phone while she was singing at a hotel in Indianapolis. Rush and Jordan were in Indianapolis for a Bulls game against the Pacers.
A sexual relationship began in Chicago in December 1989 and continued into 1991, according to her claim. Jordan had married his wife, Juanita, that September, but called the marriage a "business arrangement" to improve his image, Knafel alleges.
Juanita Jordan filed for divorce last January but later withdrew the case. She and Jordan issued a statement saying they were attempting reconciliation.