By Sue Montgomery
MONTREAL – Just because a man leaves everything in his will to his wife doesn’t mean he’s insane or abnormal.
That was one of the conclusions of a lawyer in the legal battle over champion boxer Arturo Gatti’s will, in which he left everything to his wife, Amanda Rodrigues.
During closing arguments in the fight that pits Rodrigues against the late boxer’s family, lawyer Pierre-Huges Fortin argued there is no proof that a 2007 will in which Gatti left everything to his mother, brother and daughter exists. Gatti’s family claims Rodrigues, whom Gatti met in 2006 and married the following year, pressured her husband into signing a will weeks before his death in Brazil in July 2009, and therefore, the 2007 will should stand as the official document.
But throughout the weeks-long trial, which is draining whatever fortune the boxer may have had in his estate, no one was able to produce a signed copy of that will, said Fortin, representing Gatti’s widow.
Brazilian authorities at first questioned Rodrigues about her role in her husband’s death, then released her when it was determined the boxer committed suicide.
Members of the Gatti family, and some of their friends, testified in Quebec Superior Court that they still believe Rodrigues murdered Gatti. They characterized Rodrigues as a foul-mouthed gold-digger who often criticized Gatti’s family and nagged the boxer to change.
“The courts must adjudicate on the question of legality, not morality,” Fortin said. “(Rodrigues’s) behavior is not pertinent and has nothing to do with to whom Arturo Gatti wanted to leave his assets.”
He pointed to the hundreds of photos in evidence, showing a happy couple embracing on their various vacations, including a second honeymoon in Paris two weeks before Gatti’s death.
Notary Eric Bruce Moïdel testified he was the one who suggested the couple bring their wills up to date. “He didn’t feel that Arturo Gatti was under any pressure to sign this document,” Fortin said.
Sue Montgomery is a reporter for the Montreal Gazette