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Closing statements begin in McCourt divorce trial

September 29, 2010 | 11:03 am

In the Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce trial Wednesday, Jamie McCourt's attorney accused Frank McCourt of deceit and accused the attorney who drafted the L.A. Dodgers ownership agreement of misconduct.

In closing statements in L.A. County Superior Court, attorney Dennis Wasser said the agreement was explained to Frank McCourt in 2008, and he responded by saying it should be changed to grant Jamie McCourt an ownership interest in the Dodgers.

But attorney Larry Silverstein never followed through, Wasser said.

Silverstein drafted the agreement that Frank McCourt says gives him sole ownership of the Dodgers and which Jamie McCourt wants thrown out. The agreement was signed in 2004.

"When Frank found out in 2008 how the agreement operated, what he did was take advantage of it," Wasser said.

Wasser attacked the credibility of Frank McCourt and Silverstein, arguing that Jamie McCourt had asked for Silverstein's files in April, but she was not informed until August that a page in the agreement had been switched.

The original trial date had been May 24.

"The other side said it was critical they went to trial in May of this year, in June of this year," Wasser said. "Now we know why."

He also said Silverstein had a motive for claiming not to remember he had switched the page that listed the Dodgers as community property for one that listed the team as Frank McCourt's property.

By stating he intentionally altered a signed document after the fact without notifying the parties, Wasser said, Silverstein could be subject to disbarment and/or criminal prosecution.

Silverstein testified the switch reflected the innocent correction of a mistake.

Wasser pointed out Silverstein did not correct another error in the document, one that said the parties each had their own lawyer. Silverstein had represented both.

"I know why," Wasser said. "It's on the signature page. He couldn't have changed [that paragraph] without telling Jamie."

-- Bill Shaikin at L.A. County Superior Court