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Is Russ Whitney divorced or getting divorced? I have received four reports from unrelated persons who appear to be reliable that Russ Whitney and his wife are getting divorced. I also asked him in an interrogatory whether he was divorced or getting divorced. Interrogatories have to be answered under oath. He refused to answer and filed a motion asking the Fort Myers federal court to protect him from answering. Why would I care? Normally, I wouldn"t. But the guy has sued me four times, so I scour the earth looking for evidence to use to defend against his suits. A divorce might provide useful evidence in three ways: "¢ Divorce court papers often reveal bad behavior or behavior that contradicts public statements of one of the parties "¢' Divorce court papers often have revealing financial statements that may conflict with Whitney' public depictions of his financial statements "¢' If Whitney is divorced or getting divorced, and he lied about or omitted that fact when it was material to a particular situation, the lie would be admissible evidence regarding his credibility What does a divorce mean? The mere fact that someone has been divorced may not mean anything. It could be irreconcilable differences. That is, two good people who are simply not each other' cup of tea. You can have a bad match with good people. There used to be a stigma attached to divorce. For example, the consensus was that a man who had been divorced could never be elected president. Then Ronald Reagan proved that wrong. Approximately half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. On the other hand, if divorces are so innocuous, why is Whitney going to the expense and trouble of filing a motion to avoid answering the question? If I were asked the same question, I would simply answer, "No, I have never been divorced."' A normal divorced person would simply say, "Yes. I am divorced." What' the big deal? I would answer that question even if I had some legal right to not answer if I would have to file a motion to avoid answering. It' easier and simpler and cost-free to just answer the question with a simple no or a yes. Can have meaning However, divorce can have meaning that relates to a court proceeding against one of the divorcing spouses. If the divorce is caused by bad behavior of the spouse who is in the litigation, that bad behavior may be admissible evidence. It would generally be admissible if the bad behavior related to an essential element of the litigation. For example, if you accused someone of being unfaithful to his wife and he sued you for saying that, divorce papers that contained evidence that he had, indeed, been unfaithful to his wife

would probably be admissible. Similarly, if the divorce papers indicated any untruthfulness on the part of the litigious spouse, that would also be admissible as to whether the jury should believe him when he testifies. Whitney and his wife have been married since 1976 as far as I can tell. That' 29 years. Whitney has put his wife through a lot over those years"”including his court losses in the hit-and-run and paternity-child support cases. Why would she put up with stuff like that for all those years then divorce him now? Financial statements Divorces generally require dividing of assets, liabilities, and income. That, in turn, requires each spouse to submit to the court, under oath, their financial statements. Asset protection games would not be permitted or likely to succeed given the detailed knowledge of spouses about their finances. It might be interesting to see Russ Whitney' divorce court financial statements. For one thing, they would be under oath. He makes a lot of statements about his financial success that are not under oath. It would be interesting to see if the under-oath statements jibe with the not-under-oath statements. If he is honest, they should. Otherwise, more admissible evidence. It would also be interesting to see his divorce court financial statements because one would expect that his wife would know more about the accurate versions than anyone else on earth. When he lost a paternity-child support case in the late 1990', Whitney persuaded the court that he could only afford $800 a month in child support. The woman he got pregnant complained in court that he had been telling the public for years what a big financial success he was and that such statements did not square with his relative poverty claims in court. Similarly, in the 1980', he lost a $1.2 million hit-and-run judgment. Again, although he had been telling the public that he was a millionaire and so forth, he reportedly told the hit-and-run victim' family that if they made him pay the judgment, he would declare bankruptcy. Why would a $1.2 million judgment force a guy who claimed he had been a millionaire for six years to declare bankruptcy? In short, comparing Whitney' public statements about his wealth to in-court statements about his wealth has been a productive exercise in the past and may be now if indeed, he has been or is getting divorced. In addition to bragging about how financially successful he has been in order to get people to sign up for his seminars, Whitney also runs a public corporation. As a result, he is required by federal law to file the financial statements of that corporation quarterly. I would like to compare what he tells the United States Securities and Exchange Commission about his finances with what he tells a divorce court with his wife on the other side of the case. SEC filings may not be "under oath" per se, but they are sure required to be accurate and it can be a felony if they are not. The recent Sarbanes-Oxley law requires the chief executive officer, Russ Whitney, to sign and vouch for the accuracy of the financial statements. (You can read a summary of the law here.) Telling the truth about the divorce Even if you have a clean, honest, no-fault divorce, there can still be related wrongdoing. For example, if you are asked whether you have been divorced and say no when you have, that is a lie. Such a lie may be a crime. Even if it' not, it shows that you are untruthful, which is always admissible evidence in court. There are also situations where you may not be asked whether you are divorced, but you need to volunteer that information anyway. For example, if you were applying to be a marriage counselor, including a volunteer marriage counselor at your church or some such, you would either be asked if you had been divorced or you should volunteer that information even if you are not asked. Or at least that makes sense to me. Custody battle Another example, I have been told, applies to Whitney. I have been told that Whitney tried to win primary custody of a Long Island child to whom he is related. This happened in 2004. I would expect that such a custody court case would involve the competing applicants for custody of the child proving to the court that their family and home situation was better than the other competing family and home situations. One would expect that a divorce, pending divorce, or even a likely divorce would be considered a "material fact" in such a proceeding. You are required by law to reveal material facts in various legal situations. And even where it might not be explicitly required by law, I would expect that the average juror would regard failure to disclose a divorce in such circumstances to be evidence of untruthfulness. So I would like to find out if Whitney has been divorced or is getting divorced, if so, when and where, and whether he was, indeed, in a custody battle or any other situation where he was required to disclose the divorce and whether, if he was, he did disclose it. Whitney vs. Whitney Divorces are lawsuits, or at least require filing papers with a court. They typically are titled like Kramer vs. Kramer, the 1979 movie that starred Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. So where was Whitney vs. Whitney filed if such a divorce exists? I looked in the on-line Lee County, Florida court records. I did not find it. That suggests that either there is no divorce or it has been sealed by the court or it was filed in another court. If it is in another court, I would appreciate it if someone would tell me which one. If Whitney and his wife have not been divorced and are not in the process of getting divorced, I apologize for saying they were. However, I have heard it from four different sources and I asked a simple question in interrogatories about it and could not get an answer from Whitney. Seems like I have made a reasonable effort on the subject. After I posted this I got an email from a person who said they heard the same reports that I did. That person thought the divorce might have been initiated but not followed through. In that case, Whitney could have and should have just answered "no" to my divorce interrogatory. In which case, this article would never have existed. John T. Reed Copyright 2005 by John T. Reed John T. Reed, a.k.a. John Reed, Jack Reed, 342 Bryan Drive, Alamo, CA 94507, Voice: 925-820-7262, Fax: 925-820-1259, www.johntreed.com

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