- Associated Press - Thursday, June 16, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge on Thursday extended settlement talks in the divorce case of Jamie and Frank McCourt involving ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon set a hearing for early Friday to determine if both sides had reached a deal. Gordon initially declared an impasse but rescinded it when attorneys indicated they needed more time.

“I think we are close,” said lawyer Dennis Wasser, who represents Jamie McCourt. “Hopefully, we can get it done tonight.”

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Asked outside of court to clarify his statements, Wasser declined comment. Attorneys for Frank McCourt also declined comment.

In December, Gordon deemed a postnuptial marital agreement signed by the former couple in 2004 invalid. The agreement gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers, but Gordon’s decision cleared the way for Jamie McCourt to seek half the team under California’s community property law.

Jamie McCourt had asked Gordon to order the sale of the team and a hearing was set for Wednesday on that request.

In April, Major League Baseball took the extraordinary step of assuming control of the troubled franchise. Former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer was appointed to monitor the team on behalf of MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Selig said he took the action because he was concerned about the team’s finances and how the Dodgers are being run.

The former couple’s lavish lifestyle was exposed in court documents where it was revealed that they took out more than $100 million in loans from Dodgers-related businesses. Their spending habits were likened to using the money from the team as if it was their personal ATM or credit card.

Another judge in November declared an impasse after the McCourts and their attorneys could not reach an agreement.

After three lengthy sessions with Gordon over the past couple of weeks, there appeared to be some headway made on Thursday. All parties, including both McCourts, shuttled in and out of a downtown courtroom and then huddled in a hallway reviewing documents.

Neither of the McCourts has acknowledged one another throughout the divorce proceedings. At one point on Thursday, the former couple sat a few feet away from each other, without their attorneys, in Gordon’s courtroom. Jamie McCourt busied herself on a tablet, while her ex-husband sat quietly.

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