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File Photo: Frank McCourt
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt began testifying on Friday in a negligence lawsuit against him and the team stemming from the devastating beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium in 2011.
David Lira, a lawyer for victim Bryan Stow, asked McCourt whether he had hands-on involvement in security matters. McCourt said he did not.
McCourt acknowledged making public statements saying a quality and safe fan experience is a core value of the Dodgers. He also testified that he suggested the drafting of a fan code of conduct, which was adopted.
Stow suffered severe brain damage in the beating by two Dodgers fans who pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The attack occurred in a parking lot after the Opening Day game between the California rivals.
Stow, who became a symbol of violence at sporting events, was not in court on Friday.
Testimony thus far at the civil trial has focused on his injuries and need for lifetime care, and the contention that there was insufficient security to protect fans at the game.
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.
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.
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