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Dodgers subpoena News Corp. President Chase Carey

December 6, 2011 |  5:51 pm

Chase3The Dodgers on Tuesday issued a subpoena to and demanded the deposition of News Corp. President Chase Carey, the latest escalation in the increasingly acrimonious legal feud between the Dodgers and Fox Sports.

The Dodgers and Fox are set for a two-day court hearing starting Wednesday, when the Dodgers will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to let them sell the team's television rights one year ahead of the time provided under their current contract with Fox. The parties have been unable to resolve the dispute in mediation.

On Dec. 27, Fox will ask Gross to dismiss the Dodgers from bankruptcy, arguing that owner Frank McCourt can repay the Dodgers' creditors by selling the team and that further legal intervention constitutes an abuse of bankruptcy protection.

In advance of that hearing, Fox has asked to depose McCourt and Commissioner Bud Selig. The Dodgers responded with the subpoena of Carey, a top News Corp. executive when the company sold the team to McCourt in 2004. The deal included the television contract now in dispute and the division of assets that has enabled McCourt to keep the Dodger Stadium parking lots even as he sells the team.

It is unclear whether Gross will allow Selig, McCourt or Carey to be deposed. Gross has restricted the ability of both sides to call desired witnesses, in an effort to keep the proceedings focused as narrowly as possible.

Carey is perhaps best remembered by Dodgers fans as the News Corp. executive that arranged the trade of Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins in 1998. Fred Claire, then the Dodgers' general manager, has said that Carey executed the trade without involving or even informing him. Claire said the trade was designed to further Fox's television interests in Florida.

"There have been shocking trades before, but never one orchestrated by a television executive whose first priority was to improve a team's lineup of stations rather than its batting lineup," Claire wrote in his book, "My 30 Years in Dodger Blue."

Now that the Dodgers are for sale, Claire has expressed interest in forming a group to bid on the team.

ALSO:

Pricey free agents don't fit into plans, Dodgers' Ned Colletti says

In the L.A. sports viewing market, a clash of media titans

Dodgers sign Jerry Hairston Jr., work on deal with Aaron Harang

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: News Corp. President Chase Carey. Credit: Matthew Staver / Bloomberg

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