Ben and Julianna Zobrist’s divorce trial is set to begin Monday in a Franklin, Tenn., courtroom, but the workings of those proceedings could be intertwined with those of the former Chicago Cubs player’s lawsuit against Byron Yawn, the former Nashville, Tenn., pastor who once counseled the couple during their marital problems but then had an extramarital affair with Julianna.
Here are five things to know about the divorce trial between the Zobrists and Ben’s $6 million civil lawsuit against Yawn — and where they intersect.
1. Byron Yawn might be called to testify in the divorce trial.
Yawn gave a deposition for the divorce case on Sept. 29, 2020, and while the court has the transcript, Yawn has been subpoenaed to be available as a witness, according to Yawn’s attorney, Christopher M. Bellamy of Nashville-based Neal and Harwell.
The trial testimony could lead off with Ben Zobrist taking the stand — the plaintiff presents his or her case first. Yawn might be asked to testify later in the week, but neither scenario is a given.
Who gets called as a witness is at the discretion of the attorneys and the judge.
2. Yawn has filed a motion to dismiss Ben Zobrist’s $6 million lawsuit.
In a separate case filed in Nashville in May, Zobrist sued Yawn for intentional infliction of emotional distress, blaming him for breaking up his marriage and helping end his baseball career, as well as for defrauding his charity, alleging that Yawn cashed $3,500 in paychecks for two months after he had been fired as executive director of Patriot Forward, a nonprofit support group to help athletes with mental health and life after sports.
Yawn’s attorney rejected Zobrist’s complaint in a memorandum filed July 26.
“The legal system is not intended to be a balm to ease the pain of the prideful and defeated, nor is it equipped to justly adjudicate questions of morality,” Bellamy wrote in the motion, according to a statement sent to the Tribune.
“This is a thinly veiled attempt by plaintiff to shed responsibility for the demise of his marriage, absolve himself of spiritual and emotional abuse against his estranged wife, Julianna Zobrist, and use this Court to place responsibility at the feet of Mr. Yawn.”
The motion alleged unspecified marital misconduct by Ben Zobrist and accused him of using “his faith, wealth and status as a professional baseball player” as a shield to avoid public scrutiny for his role in the divorce. Julianna’s pretrial brief also alleged inappropriate conduct but didn’t give specific allegations.
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Source: By PHIL THOMPSON
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