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Dukes Faces Possibility Of 90 Days In Jail

Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes will spend the next days with Class AA Harrisburg, trying to rehabilitate his left hamstring injury. In the meantime, he must deal with another problem. Hillsborough (Fla.) Circuit Court Judge Mark Wolfe on Friday ordered that Dukes, 24, must pay $39,767 in outstanding legal fees for his estranged wife's attorneys. If he doesn't make the payment by June 5 at 5 p.m., he could face 90 days in jail.

Dukes did not attend today's hearing, which came after attorneys for NiShea Dukes filed a motion for civil contempt, a means to claim unpaid fees. Dukes, with a history of legal trouble, faced a similarly-sized debt -- and a similar threat for jail time -- in January. Then, however, he was responsible for some $40,000 in unpaid child support and alimony payments. Dukes avoided jail by making the payments.

"He waited last time until the very last second to make the payment, and I'm sure this time will be no different," said Rick Escobar, an attorney who represents NiShea Dukes.

Asked on Friday if the team was aware of Dukes's legal difficulties, Washington's acting general manager Mike Rizzo declined to comment.

Dukes's attorney, Grady Irvin, said that his client would make the payment and avoid jail time.

The Nationals, who are paying Dukes $411,500 this season, currently deduct a monthly sum from his salary and allocate it for child support. NiShea Dukes has three children with Elijah.

This year, Dukes is hitting .277 (31 for 112) with four home runs and 24 RBI. He has been on the disabled list since May 20 because of his hamstring injury.

"Listen, Elijah is having a pretty good season," Irvin said. "He is doing well. He is current on his child support. His wife, NiShea, will go to any length to smear him. She won't even grant a divorce. Elijah has been trying to get a divorce. All this is over attorney's fees. This is not child support. If Elijah Dukes isn't paying child support, it's a different story."

By Chico Harlan  |  May 29, 2009; 8:35 PM ET
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Next: A Little Dancing, And Then The News


Well aren't you just a fountain of good news tonight?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 29, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Goodness what somber news tonight. Flores, Dukes..Strasburg gave up 2 runs, oh my goodness let's draft a backup catcher from DeMatha with the number 1 pick. I hope Flores gets well soon and Dukes takes care of his business.

Strasburg in the inning I just watched--missed the first 4--is going to break a lot of wood bats. UVA just got a bloop hit in the 5th that would have been broken any wood bat. He has a nice array of pitches and has struck out 10 through 5.

Go Nats. Go Aztecs.

Posted by: jfromPG | May 29, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, one more blow to the NJ psyche. Dukes probably already loses a chunk of his current post-tax salary on child support; Now he's getting nailed with legal fees & being threatened with jail time as a result.

He's a good ballplayer, but he's getting demolished by his past. No wonder he might be looked on as a "dark cloud" in the clubhouse, given these kind of personal problems.

Posted by: BinM | May 29, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can have it written into Strasburg's contract that he has to pick up Dukes' legal fees...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 29, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

McDougal did a nice job of fitting in with the ballclub on the first day here, didn't he?

Posted by: baltova1 | May 29, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

You gotta like Beimel's look. He looks like he lives at the bad end of the trailer park. Go get 'em, Joe...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 29, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

They've got a couple of catchers in the minors who could end up looking pretty good.

Sheesh Maxwell is hitting .130 now.

Looks like Willingham's bat is finally waking up ...

Posted by: periculum | May 29, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Vintage Beimel!

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 29, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, JOE!

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 29, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's get some hits

Posted by: Kev29 | May 29, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

That is a heck of a chunk of cash even for someone making $411,500 considering Dukes has child support payments for multiple kids, his own lawyer fees, taxes, and normal monthly expenses. So the $39,767 question is if Dukes doesn't have the money, will Ted Lerner come to the rescue and bail him out for the second time this year?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 29, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I know this is blasphemy on NJ, but Maxy is not ready for prime time.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell is not ready to hit at this level. Good D, good young man, go learn to hit a breaking ball in Syracuse.

Posted by: jfromPG | May 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Looks like SDS is going down tonight. How does the tournament work? Are they done?

Posted by: twinbrook | May 29, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Villone retains a 0.00 ERA...

Posted by: swang30 | May 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Beimel out, Tavarez in - Good Night, Gracie. I'm out until this team can post a win. See ya.

Posted by: BinM | May 29, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Regional is double elimination twinbrook. They'll have another shot tomorrow against Fresno-Irvine loser. Strasburg is done unless they get to Super Regional.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 29, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I hope your injury jinx from earlier isn't kicking in with Flores.

Also, I saw UVA destroy Alex White (UNC pitcher predicted to go in the top 11) last weekend to the tune of 8 ER, so I'm not concerned about Strasburg's performance tonight.

Hopefully Lidge will blow another save...

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg now 13-1 on the season. Very nicely played game by UVa. Heck, the Hoos might have just saved the Lerners some $$$

Posted by: Kev29 | May 29, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Careful driving home. 13-and-34 ... on our way to 115 losses...120...125?

And Manny Numbskull stays employed.

Great country, or what?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Not a strike

F*ck Philadelphia

Posted by: Kev29 | May 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

What a great game. We only lost to the World Champs by one goodness. I wonder if we manage to lose by only one run the next two games against the champs. Wouldn't that be wonderful, to only lose to the champs by one run in three straight games. Man, what a team, what improvement over the weekend that would be. GO NATS...stay close, be competetive and maybe, perhaps one day you'll come out on top of one of those games against the champs. Hold your heads high, I'm sure Manny is just beaming with pride tonight at the effort and fight you showed in that game. What great outfield play, realizing that you almost caught those balls against the fence. What effort, you really put your heart and years of experience chasing those rockets down. I'm sure Ross really appreciates the effort you boys gave for him tonight. Keep it up guys, make us proud. fight, fight, fight again tomorrrow night. GO NATS....yea team.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 29, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

"Acta Sees No Need for Alarm"
"Dukes Faces Possibility Of 90 Days In Jail"
"Flores has injury setback, to see Dr. Andrews on Monday"
"Strasberg loses in CWS opening round"
"Ori-holes make it 5 wins in a row"

My lord you can't make this kind of stuff up!

So fella's if the "Gum Chewer" sees no need for alarm I gather we should all be glad the "Sabermetrics Genius" is firmly planted in the dug-out. Good grief!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Taped and watched the SDS game...

1. With Flores behind the plate, only one run in the first two innings. Both of the WPs were catchable by either Flores or Nieves.
2. The Ball/Strike calls were very inconsistent. There is a reason that these guys aren't making 100K plus in the majors.
3. Strasburg had good stuff, but not blow the world away. UVA (with all due respect) is not the best team in the ACC. Facing UNC, FSU, Miami, etc. on an every week basis, he is not 13 & 1.
4. Strasburg is not ready for the majors anytime this year. Maybe a Sept. '10 callup.
5. C/W says power pitchers have a better chance of succeeding, long term, than finesse guys.
6. FL, TX, CA players are closer to high side when they graduate than are those from other areas.
7. Conclusion: Take Dustin Ackley and leave Boras to play with the number 2. Take a pitcher with the 9.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50: I watched the whole game, and the way I'd choose to think about it is that Strasburg dominated one of the best-hitting teams in the country for most of the game with a dazzling array of pitches (except for the changeup, which needs work). 15 Ks, no BBs, a HR hit on a good pitch, and only 2 ERs in 7 IP. He's got serious stuff, and I'd have no hesitations taking him with the 1st pick.

Posted by: jcville | May 29, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Ditto, @cokedispatch! Praise the Lord and pass the Kool-Aid! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 29, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

The Post trying to mislead people. Dukes isn't in hotwater for Child Support. He is in a dipute over legal fees. Big Difference

Posted by: JDB1 | May 29, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

maybe, JDB1, but the 90 days look a lot alike.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 29, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

There shouldn't be any doubt that his legal fees will be paid. Without him batting behind Dunn, the Nats aren't getting any offense.

Posted by: Section506 | May 29, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

@ You gotta like Beimel's look. He looks like he lives at the bad end of the trailer park. Go get 'em, Joe...

Posted by: baltova1
I love Beimel's look & his Johnny Cash music.
@ BinM: Dukes probably already loses a chunk of his current post-tax salary on child support
Assuming the court was fair, I wdn't say he *loses* it any more than any other parent "loses" money taking care of his or her own kids. The legal fees, now those may be another story. Get well Elijah, we need you badly!

Posted by: Section109 | May 30, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Good lord. Please tell me that the FO is footing the bill for Elijah's legal fees. If ARoid can make roughly $19,000 per inning, surely the Lerners can at the very least float ED a 0% interest loan to pay this thing off and get an important offensive cog back in the machine.

I refrained from using terms like gold-digger and harpy in my response. His attorney has a point. He's not keeping food off his kids' plates in this situation. His wife has a meal ticket with plenty of punches still available to her. She's not letting up any time soon. Love and hate are the strongest emotions in the human psyche and from a physiological perspective elicit a very similar bio-chemical reaction.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 30, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Ok, not to rain on the undercurrent of an anti-lawyer parade here, but if Dukes pays his child support on time, there are no legal fees to pay. He's making 400K per year for goodness sakes! It's not like he's just scraping by. Pay your bills, feed your kids, and concentrate on baseball. You and the team don't need these distractions.

Posted by: Section222 | May 30, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The minor tremors you feel are a result of the collective head nods and fist pumps of agreement from Mariners fans across the nation.


Conclusion: Take Dustin Ackley and leave Boras to play with the number 2. Take a pitcher with the 9.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 30, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

strasburg Ks 15 in the regionals and you guys think that saves the lerner's money? ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

she won't divorce because she wants a piece of dukes' next contract. childcare is expensive but sheesh. lawyers win again.

i doubt maxwell will ever be able to hit major league hitting enough to be a starter. i thought that has been the consensus for the past 3 years. he's not that young. he's a pure athelete but hitting is a skill. 4/5 outfielder tops. defensive substitute/pinch runner role.

Posted by: longterm | May 30, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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