MLB: Ex-Dodgers owner may testify in fan beating case
LOS ANGELES — A lawyer for a San Francisco Giants fan who was attacked and gravely injured at Dodger Stadium plans to call former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt as a witness in a negligence lawsuit against the team and McCourt.
However, McCourt’s stay on the witness stand could be brief Friday if a judge limits issues allowed in the questioning.
Attorney Tom Girardi, who represents beating victim Bryan Stow, wants to question McCourt about team finances and to suggest that McCourt skimped on spending for security at the stadium while lavishing millions of dollars on his own lifestyle.
Stow, who became a symbol of violence at sporting events, suffered severe brain damage after being beaten by two Dodgers fans who pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the attack.
Testimony thus far at the civil trial has focused on Stow’s injuries and need for lifetime care, and the contention that there was insufficient security to protect fans at the 2011 opening day game between the California rivals.
Witnesses have said no security guards were visible in the parking lot where Stow was beaten. The defense countered that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history.
Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez will decide at a special hearing whether McCourt must testify about team finances.
McCourt paid $430 million in 2004 to buy the team, Dodger Stadium and 250 acres of land that includes parking lots, from the Fox division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a sale that left the team with about $50 million in cash at the time.
The Dodgers went into bankruptcy protection in June 2011 and the next year McCourt sold the team for $2 billion to a group that included former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson.
The group vowed to restore dignity to the storied franchise after the era of McCourt, who was widely reviled by Dodgers fans for driving the Dodgers to the brink of bankruptcy.
In bankruptcy filings, attorneys for Major League Baseball said McCourt looted more than $180 million in revenue from the club.