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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

Tennis trial may air dirty laundry
By Jane Musgrave

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH — An already contentious trial, charging Venus, Serena and Richard Williams with reneging on what was supposed to be a lucrative battle-of-the-sexes tennis match, could get even uglier.

Attorneys representing two would-be promoters in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the famous tennis family said they may drag out some particularly dirty family laundry if the Williamses' attorneys try to paint their client as a liar.

The not-so-veiled threat came Monday when attorney F. Malcolm Cunningham Jr., who is representing the sisters, persuaded Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff to let him call one of Carol Clarke's former associates to testify that Clarke once told her that she had cancer.

The testimony is important because Richard Williams has testified that one of the main reasons he committed his daughters to the match was because Clarke told him she needed money to pay for her cancer treatment. Clarke, meanwhile, has told the jury that she never had cancer and never told Williams that she did.

Testimony from the former business associate would show the jury that Clarke told others, in addition to Williams, that she had cancer, Cunningham successfully argued.

Clarke's attorney, John Romano, countered that if her cancer becomes fodder for speculation, so too may Richard Williams' failed marriage.

"Then we can get into the spousal abuse," Romano told Winikoff.

Allegations that Williams beat the mother of Venus and Serena would become relevant because he also claims that he agreed to have his daughters participate in the event planned for late 2001 after Clarke promised to help him reunite with his then-estranged wife, Oracene, Romano said. The couple divorced in 2002.

The allegations would raise questions about his emotional testimony about how much he loved his wife, Romano said.

Jan Michael Morris, who represents Richard Williams, objected that the evidence of abuse, based only on sketchy police reports, never would be admissible.

Winikoff cut him off. "I don't need a preview of coming attractions," the judge said, adding that he would decide whether abuse allegations would be allowed into evidence if and when Romano makes a formal request.

At the end of the day, Romano said he didn't know whether he would do so. He said he would prefer not to but that it might be necessary to combat the testimony that Clarke claimed she had cancer to elicit sympathy.

The battle over who can testify about what came as the trial entered its third week.

Clarke spent most of the afternoon on the witness stand with Cunningham trying to portray her as a gold digger who latched on to the Williams family, trying to make the fortune that has long eluded her.

A former insurance agent, she met Richard Williams after she had gotten into films. Her brother, who ran the tennis shop at BallenIsles where Venus and Serena occasionally trained, introduced her to him in 1997 after he expressed interest in getting involved in film and video projects. She became a regular visitor at his Palm Beach Gardens home.

Before cooking up the idea in 2000 for the battle-of-the-sexes match, which Clarke estimated would net $45 million, they discussed various moneymaking ventures that never reached fruition.

Williams, who owned a bus company, at one time suggested that they outfit a bus with Web-casting equipment to feature his daughters on tour. She at one time suggested using the notoriety of the top-ranked sisters to market a magnetic tennis bracelet.

The only projects Clarke did with Venus and Serena Williams, however, were interviewing them for a documentary on Althea Gibson, the first black person to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament, and several public service announcements. The sisters were never paid for their participation.

Clarke is slated to continue to testify today, followed by Keith Rhodes, her partner in the failed match. The trial is due to wrap up Dec. 15.


And the DRAMA continues....................!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

Couldn't everyone just settle this out-of-court and be done with it?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swami_Marjorie View Post
Couldn't everyone just settle this out-of-court and be done with it?
That makes sense to me. Why would V&S want to go through this?
It might be the other side wants publicity.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swami_Marjorie View Post
Couldn't everyone just settle this out-of-court and be done with it?
Why should the Williams settle this? If there is no Power of Attornye paperwork to show that Richard could sign contracts on their behalf, these promoters have nothing. Also, how do value the worth of something that never happened? Did these people have the men signed up to compete against V+S in this "Battle of the Sexes"? If not, that is another hole in their claim.

Lots of questions about their claim that have not been brought up in the trail yet...

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:00 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

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Originally Posted by TeamUSA#1 View Post
Why should the Williams settle this? If there is no Power of Attornye paperwork to show that Richard could sign contracts on their behalf, these promoters have nothing. Also, how do value the worth of something that never happened? Did these people have the men signed up to compete against V+S in this "Battle of the Sexes"? If not, that is another hole in their claim.

Lots of questions about their claim that have not been brought up in the trail yet...
Well, both sides are pretty much on the defensive.

The documents requested by the judge from the Wiliams concerning signed endorsement deals, committments, etc. should better clear up the issue whether or not the Williams Family was being deceptive about Richard's status of manager or coach at the time. The tax returns show Richard was paid as a manger, but the documents should give the judge a better idea.

However, its a lose-lose for the Williams family should previously undisclosed details about Richard and Oracene's divorce and alledged domestic violence be splattered on the pages of the tabloids. Whatever dirt the Williams attorney digs up on the lady plainiff (a feigned cancer diagnosis) will not have the same impact and public perception as info about the Williams family private life.

I'm reminded of when Kim Basinger was sued by a movie studio for backing out of a film, and they got a multi-million dollar judgement against her.

Its been done before.

Which is why I think the blood-letting should stop. Work out a deal with the plaintiffs to keep their mouths shut and pay them only a fraction of what they want. That could have already occured and rejected. However, at this point, it might be the best way to put an end to it.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

Everyone already thinks that Richard beat up Oracene anyway, so what's the additional damage?

The Enquirer published those allegations a long, long time ago. They also published a sordid story of Serena going to drop off a take-out dinner at Richard's, only to spot him banging some broad on the floor of the front hall. I'm not sure what dirty laundry hasn't already been aired. Poor Serena, every time I see her play, I do have a flash of that poor girl seeing Richard in medias res. Poor girl, I hope it was made up.

Re: Settlement. Some fabulously wealthy people take the stance that if they settle once, they'll be the target for shit forever so they fight everything. Or the plaintiffs are just totally crazy and won't settle except for money the girls won't pay.

Whitney Houston and her receipts:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthrea...17447&page=324
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:29 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

And lets not forget Serena lied about her dog. HOW CAN WE TRUST THIS WOMAN???!!!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:30 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

They should not settle...like Helen said...settle once...any crackpot with a dream of a payday will expect the same...

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:32 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

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Originally Posted by Martian Willow View Post
And lets not forget Serena lied about her dog. HOW CAN WE TRUST THIS WOMAN???!!!
I'm pretty sure that Serena is losing sleep that some loser on WTA World is having trouble trusting her...

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:40 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

It probably explains the comfort eating too.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 09:41 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

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Originally Posted by Martian Willow View Post
And lets not forget Serena lied about her dog. HOW CAN WE TRUST THIS WOMAN???!!!
Why? What happened with her dog and what's it's name?
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 10:38 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

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Originally Posted by Helen Lawson View Post
Everyone already thinks that Richard beat up Oracene anyway, so what's the additional damage?

The Enquirer published those allegations a long, long time ago.
Well, first, the details of their divorce decree (not previously disclosed) and alledged domestic violence would be reported by the mainstream press, not tabloids.

That's the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen Lawson View Post
Re: Settlement. Some fabulously wealthy people take the stance that if they settle once, they'll be the target for shit forever so they fight everything. Or the plaintiffs are just totally crazy and won't settle except for money the girls won't pay.
Well, all these things I'm sure the Williams attorney has discussed with them. However, should the Williams lose this lawsuit by jury, it won't matter. And to add insult to injry, risk public revelation of their personal lives in the mainstream media to boot. There is also the perjury issue if they should lose.

Anytime a civil or criminal case goes to jury, there is always a risk of losing for both sides. It wasn't until the trial began that details of the sisters tax returns were revealed. It was a disclosure that the Williams defense didn't know would happen before the trial. Or the signed documents requested by the judge last week about commitments and endorsements made during that time frame that could exonerate Richard, or prove that he was indeed acting as their manager. Its these two "surprises" that the defense obviously wasn't expecting because these types of disclosures are generally requested and made before trial.

The mere fact that the Williams Defense team is planning to attack the credibility of the lady defendant (re: feigning cancer to a friend) makes me think there is something in those requested documents by the trial Judge that could indicate Richard played a much larger role in their decision making than Serena, Venus, or Richard eluded to the jury.

All I'm saying is weighing the risks vs the benefits of the settling out-of-court is difficult. But given those risks, an out-of-court settlement might be an option should documents reveal what the plaintiffs suspect, and things begin going south for the Williams defense.

Last edited by Mother_Marjorie; Dec 11th, 2006 at 10:44 PM.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 11th, 2006, 10:59 PM
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Re: Dirty Laundry/Williams's Trial

In regards to Richard and Oracene:
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/oracene1.html

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