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Judge: Star Athletes Can Attend Trial in Dodger Stadium Assault Case

"Their presence in the courtroom will create chaos and distraction," the attorneys for Bryan Stow wrote. But a judge denied their attempt to keep the gallery star-free.

Magic Johnson was one of the athlete stars attorneys for Bryan Stow didn't want in the courtroom during his civil trial against former Dodger owner Frank McCourt. Patch file photo.
Magic Johnson was one of the athlete stars attorneys for Bryan Stow didn't want in the courtroom during his civil trial against former Dodger owner Frank McCourt. Patch file photo.

A judge today rejected the claim that sport stars associated with the Los Angeles Dodgers would "create chaos and distraction" if they attend the upcoming trial of the lawsuit brought by a man severely beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking in 2011.

Attorneys for Bryan Stow -- who is suing former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt -- tried to bar Tommy Lasorda, Magic Johnson and current and former Dodgers from jury selection and during opening statements and closing arguments.

"Their presence in the courtroom will create chaos and distraction," the attorneys wrote. "Finally, their presence will create a substantial danger of unfair prejudice to (Stow)."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez denied the motion.

There is no indication that Lasorda, Johnson or any current or former player planned to attend the trial.

Stow, a former paramedic, suffered a brain injury when he was attacked by two men in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on March 31, 2011, following a game between the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

Attorney Daniel Martens, on behalf of the Dodgers, said Stow -- a Giants fan -- was intoxicated and confrontational "from the time he set foot on the property until the time he was attacked." He said a photo demonstrates Stow's demeanor that day and his shared fault in the tragedy.

The judge granted a motion by Stow's lawyers to keep the jury from seeing a photo of their client making an obscene gesture toward a "Welcome to Dodger Stadium" sign hours before he was attacked.

Stow sued McCourt for negligence two months after he was attacked, alleging there was insufficient security in place when he was injured. Because of his health, the 45-year-old Stow will not testify during the trial, which is scheduled to begin May 27.

An attorney said no person or entity in the current ownership of the Dodgers faces any potential liability.

--City News Service


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