Good morning. First, a couple housekeeping matters. If you're new to the site, or would like a refresher on the basic issues, you can check out this trial guide I put together a few weeks ago. The basic issues are unchanged, though some details have certainly emerged since then. Next, I want to point out the long-overdue Twitter gadget on the left sidebar. I was dismayed to learn many non-Twitter users were having a difficult time accessing an updated feed last week, and the gadget on the side should solve that problem. It shows, in chronological order, my last ten tweets; about the most I'd ever get out after any session in court.
Today, Frank sets out to legally establishing the veracity of the factual background detailed in the post below this one. It's one thing, of course, to know the facts, but another altogether to prove them. To this point in the trial, Jamie has done a good job casting doubt on Frank's side of things. Her attorneys strongly implied Reynolds Cafferata was in the Dodgers' pocket, and they managed to characterize Larry Silverstein as either a man hiding a secret or a lawyer who made some pretty shaky decisions.
The fact is that, had Silverstein sought the parties' acknowledgment of the Exhibit A switch in April 2004 when, as Frank contends, both he and Jamie were on the same page, we probably wouldn't be here today. Most of Jamie's initial arguments, including the possibility of undue influence, have fallen through. The existence of that other Exhibit A, though, and the circumstances surrounding the switch, have given her a fairly strong position to argue from. It's only fitting that her best legal theory here--the switcheroo--and Frank's best defense--the facts--play in perfectly with how they've handled the divorce publicly. Jamie has been vocal and visible, Frank reserved and reticent.
Los Angeles Dodgers CFO Peter Wilhelm will take the stand today, and he is expected to be the first in a series of several witnesses testifying as to Jamie's knowledge and understanding of the MPA at the time of its creation and execution. Blessedly, this week's witnesses are supposed to be on and off the stand much quicker. Poor Larry Silverstein, between depositions and trial testimony, was under oath for a calendar week explaining to David Boies his role in the matter. Ouch.
The parties left trial last Thursday publicly optimistic about the possibility of settling the issue via mediation, but talks stalled out after a ten hour session Friday. The Times' Bill Shaikin reports that the sides are about $300 million apart, and also dealing with issues related to the timing of payments. This is in line with past settlement discussions, in which Frank's starting point was always what Jamie would get from his version of the MPA. Further, while Frank is willing--and might want--to spread payments over time, he has refused in the past to structure a settlement in any way that would have ramifications on the club. This means that giving her a chunk of the team or a hook in future revenue streams have been largely off the table.
While settlement talks haven't gone particularly well--this past Friday or in two other attempts this year--I still believe a settlement is the only reasonable option here. Frank might have the facts as they actually happened in his favor, but he's got several difficult hurdles to go in proving them and avoiding other land mines, such as Jamie's lack of independent representation. The risk of losing is still very real for both of them. And, among the several elephants in the room are multiple other legal theories, avenues, and disputes that would follow resolution of the issue on the table now. Unless settled, this litigation won't end here, and the parties both risk spending so much money unwinding the marriage that there is little left when all is said and done.