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Dukes Makes Payment, Avoids Jail Possibility

Nats outfielder Elijah Dukes avoided the possibility of a 90-day jail sentence today by paying $39,767 in outstanding legal fees several hours before the court-appointed deadline. One week ago, a Hillsborough (Fla.) Circuit Court judge ordered that Dukes must pay the money, owed to attorneys representing his estranged wife, by 5 p.m. tonight.

"Right now, the money is being processed by our firm, so I consider it paid," said attorney Carlos Ramirez, who represents NiShea Dukes. "They made the deadline."

The deadline -- and the court's ruling that Dukes must pay the debt -- came after NiShea Dukes' attorneys filed a motion for civil contempt, a means to claim the unpaid fees. Dukes has three children with his estranged wife, and has been involved in a length series of court proceedings.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 5, 2009; 3:39 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineups (With Notes)


"Dukes have three children with his estranged wife,"

Has three children...

Posted by: skippy1999 | June 5, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Skippy- looks like an grammar auto-correct error to me.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | June 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

*Dukes has three children with their estranged wife.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If dukes have three children with Elija's estranged wife, that seems like it would their problem and not his.

Posted by: joebleux | June 5, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me this is the last time we'll have to read something like this about Elijah. May he continue getting his life in order and stay healthy.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 5, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Good that he came through at any rate, for his/her/their kids' sake.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Good thing that he was paid by the Great Falls Little League. Now he only has to do 740 more appearances and he will be up to date.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 5, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

On the Johnson + Kearns story from Olney -

Of course there is a money angle to the deal, but the Nats initial price was not one that the Red Sox would meet (i.e., not Delcarmen). So the idea would be to offer something of value to the Nats. At this point, short of eating Kearns's contract, there is no way to get him off the roster short of putting him in a package and taking less than what you would aim for with the rest of the package without Kearns.

Losing Kearns has value if you want to end the Elijah Dukes in CF experiment. Of course, you would need a CF backfill, but if a trade package included a marginal CF who could field and fill in for the rest of the year (or until Bernardina gets back and gets a chance), as well as bullpen help and a low level, high potential arm, then the team might be better off than waiting for Nick to play out his contract and leave. Moving Nick and Austin allows you to play Dukes in RF, Dunn in LF, and force feed Willingham at 1B. That could be their 3 regular positions next year.

For the fun of it, I might ask for Hunter Jones and Fernando Cabrera, who could both be slotted into the bullpen immediately, as well as Jonathan Van Every and an arm from AA / A+ / A (several names). jones is a lefty who can get righties out, Cabrera has flamed a couple times in the majors but has great numbers this year in Pawtucket, Van Every is probably a 4th OF or a 3d on a bad team (always hit in the minors). That'd be a heck of a haul, I/M/O.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"Good that he came through at any rate, for his/her/their kids' sake."

1a: more like, "for her lawyer's sake".

I'm not sure why this would be a jail-threatening situation; seems like it should just be a civil matter between Elija and the lawyers to whom he owes money.

Posted by: joebleux | June 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This has always been a pissing contest between the lawyers, nothing more. Almost as trivial as the steroids non-story of last week.

Posted by: paulkp | June 5, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the other way to lose Kearns would be to eat the contract. The Tigers showed a lot of willingness to do so this year, and frankly the Nats did last year when they ate LoDuca and others' contracts. If we made a concerted effort to sign Nick for a year and an option (or a year plus a vesting option based on at bats), and that failed before the All Star break, then I'd want to move him.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 5, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

for the record, bobl, it's contempt of court because it was a civil issue, Dukes lost, and the court ordered him to pay. So in not paying, he'd be blowing off the court, and they have both no sense of humor about that, and a monopoly on the legal use of force.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

joe, not bob. sorry

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for carrying over your thoughts on the Red Sox possibilities, jca.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for correcting, sec3. I was wondering where "Bobble's" post was. Haven't "seen" him here for a while, though I was also away for a while.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

So jca... it seems the only real trade bait we have is Johnson. Would you agree?

Posted by: outsider6 | June 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Tonights lineup....


SS Cristian Guzman
1B Nick Johnson
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Adam Dunn
CF Elijah Dukes
RF Austin Kearns
C Josh Bard
2B Anderson Hernandez
P Shairon Martis

I really don't get this. Redding is a RHP, and yet Manny still puts Kearns in the lineup when we have W.Harris who's a left handed bat and a better CF than Dukes.

Posted by: FloresFan | June 5, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

If I can horn in on the trade talk, I think we have more trade bait besides Johnson. I would put Guzman and Willingham out there, as two solid hitters for teams willing to put up with their defensive flaws (or could play them at DH). I'd also offer Dukes in a trade. He's shown his ability in the last year plus, and he's shown his flaws (injuries, continuing off-the-field issues). You wouldn't necessarily trade all of them (goodbye, most of our offense) but you could probably get a good combo of relief and defensive (either at SS or CF, or both) help in return. This team will likely have to sacrifice some offense to get better on defense and in the bullpen.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

FloresFan, what's really bad is that Willingham isn't in there. 5 for 13 in his career against Redding. He must still be sick.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Even if there was any reason at all to even put Kearns in the lineup (there isn't), he shouldn't be sniffing the 6 hole, even with the other dregs inhabiting the bottom of the order. Hernandez has actually been hitting recently and Bard at least isn't Kearns. I might even take Martis over him at this point.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 5, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"This team will likely have to sacrifice some offense to get better on defense and in the bullpen."

How can this be worth it? The last week the problem has not been defense, it's been all offense. Healthy offense seems the only hope this team has for the year.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

watching kearns continue to get the nod is sickening, we are better with willie in center and dukes in right, please get better ham, manny and austin are killing me

Posted by: bford1kb | June 5, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd like some solid info on what's being done to try to prevent future injuries to Dukes. Does he have a good, ongoing preventive exercise program? For his sake and the team's (and ours), I hope he's getting everything that might help.

Posted by: Section109 | June 5, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"How in the world did Haber get the interview? He is horrible. Did Bowden have something against the Post?"

Bowden used to appear on Haber's sportscast on a regular basis, maybe weekly. He probably got paid by Channel 9 to do it, like Channel 4 used to pay Joe Gibbs to appear on George Michael's sportscast every Monday during the football season.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 5, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Guzman and Willingham would move far easier than Kearns and Johnson. Johnson should be re-upped now. Might improve him as it seemed to for Zimmerman. They could throw in some of the prospects that haven't panned out as well as hoped ... like Hanranhan and Mock, possibly Ledezma as well.

Then start moving guys up from AA who have done pretty well there like Zenicola, Arneson etc. Looks like they are moving catcher Jhonatan Solano onto the fast track. He already hit a home run in Syracuse.

Might as well make some moves ... things are getting worst not better.

Posted by: periculum | June 5, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Move the AA guys to Syracuse first.

Posted by: periculum | June 5, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

In the end, Elijah Dukes took care of his personal issue and now we can get back to baseball where Elijah Dukes makes this lineup better.

His potential on the field has a lot of upside if he can concentrate on the task at hand.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 5, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Lineups are up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, is there anything more frustrating for a man to pay an estranged wife's lawyer fees?

Who wants to write a check paying jackals bent on bilking you for every penny?

Whoever said "divorce is expensive because it's worth it" is absolutely correct.

Move on Mr. Dukes, take care of your children, and avoid the beotch at all costs.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | June 5, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Happy Father's Day, in advance, Elijah.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 5, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

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