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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ambush or No Ambush

Documents contradict Williams' statements
By Jane Musgrave

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 16, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH — Minutes after tennis great Serena Williams swore she always signed her own agreements, a judge on Friday ruled that a jury may be shown four documents that Richard Williams signed on behalf of his famous daughters.

The ruling was a coup for attorneys representing two would-be promoters who are seeking as much as $9 million from Venus, Serena and Richard Williams, claiming they reneged on a 2001 contract to participate in a battle-of-the-sexes tennis match.

Throughout the four-week trial, the family has insisted the contract Richard Williams signed, promising his daughters would participate in the match, was meaningless. Richard Williams, they have argued, had no authority to commit Venus and Serena to do anything, much less participate in a match that the promoters claimed would net $45 million.

But, according to attorneys representing shunned promoters Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes, the four documents may not be the only ones that dispute the family's claims.

Late Friday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff signed an order demanding the release of agreements that paved the way for the sisters' recent appearances at charity events in Denver, New Orleans and Charlotte, N.C.

Attorney John Romano, who represents the promoters, said the sisters didn't sign documents to play at the three events that benefitted Ronald McDonald House Charities. He said he got his information from an attorney involved in the event outside Denver. The appearance contracts, he said, were signed by their agent.

F. Malcolm Cunningham Jr., who represents the sisters, argued vehemently that the documents involving the recently-completed charity matches, like the other four agreements, have nothing to do with the lawsuit over the battle of the sexes match.

"More irrelevancy," he said.

Winikoff disagreed.

"Your client sat on the stand and said, 'I sign all my contracts.' She was most insistent no matter how [Romano] asked it," he said, before signing the order that will be sent to an attorney in Colorado.

Afterward, Cunningham said he may file a lawsuit in the Rocky Mountain State, preventing the documents from being released.

The dispute underscores the animosity surrounding the case. Attorney James Beasley, who also represents the promoters, and Amy Fischer, who works with Cunningham, yelled at each other when Winikoff asked them about what progress they'd made in drafting instructions he will read to the jury before it begins deliberations.

Further, a Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy, accompanied by at least three others, entered the courtroom to deliver subpoenas to Richard, Venus and Serena Williams to testify Monday as part of Romano's case.

Cunningham said such high-handed tactics were unnecessary. Romano could have simply walked across the courtroom and alerted them he intends to call them to the stand, he said.

Jan Michael Morris, who is representing Richard Williams, agreed. "They're putting on a show," he said.

Romano said he took the step because he was afraid the Williamses wouldn't show up.

Before most of the fireworks, Romano quizzed both Serena and Venus Williams about the four documents Romano said their father signed on their behalf.

Like her younger sister, Venus Williams, 26, insisted she always signs her own agreements.

Cunningham described Romano's decision to bring up the documents in the closing days of a four-year-old lawsuit as an "ambush."

The trial continues Monday. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.


"Ambush"........Some might see it that way, but a brilliant move from the organizers lawyers. And how about those subpoena's? The dramatics were uncalled for in my opinion. Hand them over to the Williams's while they exit the courtroom.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

Will they go to jail now?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

I was not really following the case, so i am not really sure...

but what happen now is Richard sign on behalf the venus and serena, and both these players didn't show up. So the company is suing them because of this...but venus and serena insisted they know nothing about it and their father cant sign for them?

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

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Originally Posted by plantman View Post
Documents contradict Williams' statements
By Jane Musgrave

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 16, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH — Minutes after tennis great Serena Williams swore she always signed her own agreements, a judge on Friday ruled that a jury may be shown four documents that Richard Williams signed on behalf of his famous daughters.


"Your client [Serena Williams] sat on the stand and said, 'I sign all my contracts.' She was most insistent no matter how [Romano] asked it," he said, before signing the order that will be sent to an attorney in Colorado.

Like her younger sister, Venus Williams, 26, insisted she always signs her own agreements.
Suffice to say, its not looking good for Team Williams.

The plaintiffs are doing a very good job at establishing a pattern of deception on Team Williams part. And the worst part is that both sisters told the jury what is being proven a lie in a public courtroom, under oath.

I don't know how this will turn out, but as I said before, it would have been better had they settled this case out-of-court because the plaintiffs are successfully attacking the credibility and honesty of Team Williams.

I don't think its an "Ambush" to provide irrefutible proof that contradicts what someone says on the witness stand under oath. It seems to me that the Sisters attorney should have investigated this prior to the trial so that no "surprises" would have popped up. Its as much his fault as his clients.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

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Originally Posted by Swami_Marjorie View Post
Suffice to say, its not looking good for Team Williams.

The plaintiffs are doing a very good job at establishing a pattern of deception on Team Williams part. And the worst part is that both sisters told the jury what is being proven a lie in a public courtroom.

I don't know how this will turn out, but as I said before, it would have been better had they settled this case out-of-court because the plaintiffs are successfully attacking the credibility and honesty of Team Williams.
They should fire their legal team and cut their losses now. It's too embarrassing. I'm sure these things happen all the time. It's just that they're usually settled out of court and away from the cameras.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

but the case is already on-going, how can they settle off-court now?

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

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Originally Posted by LadyLil View Post
They should fire their legal team and cut their losses now. It's too embarrassing. I'm sure these things happen all the time. It's just that they're usually settled out of court and away from the cameras.
Cunningham should have anticipated the disclosure of these and other documents before they even went to trial.

He underestimated the legal might of the plaintiffs.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

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Originally Posted by Swami_Marjorie View Post
Cunningham should have anticipated the disclosure of these and other documents before they even went to trial.

He underestimated the legal might of the plaintiffs.
Exactly right you are!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

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Exactly right you are!
It sounds like he did, but I'm also wondering how relaible these reports are. Meaning how inclusive are they of what's going on on both sides of the trial. It sounds like they're reporting mostly the things from the promoters side and not necessarily what the girls' defense has been. I say that also because since I thought of it, I'm sure their lawyer has thought of it too, it really can't be as simple as Richard is our manager he committes us so we had to be there, because that would leave tons of stars either doing engagements they didn't want to but have to because their manager said they would or be at risk for getting sued.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2006, 09:25 PM
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Re: Ambush or No Ambush

Unless I have misunderstood something (which at this point is highly likely ) Serena and Venus AREN'T on trial here, their Dad is. Of course, this could mean major financial strain for him, but I don't think they can do anything, directly, to the sisters.
I agree though that their lawyer seems to have missed the boat on some rather important issues and calling it an 'ambush' makes him/her sound like a 2nd year law-student...
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