Humor Warms Bench in John Rogers Court Case

Humor Warms Bench in John Rogers Court Case
Chris Piazza

An April 14 hearing that featured a revolving door of attorneys at the podium started with a line lifted from a baseball comedy sketch that debuted more than 75 years ago.

“Who’s on first?” asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza with a grin.

Grant Fortson, attorney for First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville, stepped to the plate but didn’t swing at the judge’s pitch.

Piazza pointed out his reference to the famed routine of Abbott & Costello for those who might’ve missed it.

“I got it,” Fortson said. “I just thought I shouldn’t run with it.”

The afternoon hearing attracted enough lawyers to field a baseball team.

The occasion for the courtroom gathering?

Sorting through some of the financial chaos produced by the madcap business adventures of John Rogers, the embattled photo and sports memorabilia dealer.

Rogers is the subject of a criminal investigation into possible counterfeit collectibles and phantom transactions.

During the gathering, Angelica Rogers was served with a subpoena to appear for a deposition by local counsel representing Fairfax Media Management PTY Ltd.

The ex-wife of John Rogers received sole ownership of their troubled business interests as part of their quickie divorce last year.

Fairfax Media has filed a civil suit alleging that its archive assets were being sold before digital copies were made available per its $244,000 purchase contract with John Rogers.

The Fairfax Archive is a collection of photos from the Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age and New Zealand publications.