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05/30/09 8:53 AM ET

Legal issues continue for Nats' Dukes

Outfielder ordered to pay outstanding fees

Elijah Dukes' ongoing legal issues continued Friday, as the Nationals outfielder was ordered by a Florida judge to pay nearly $40,000 outstanding legal fees for the lawyers of his estranged wife.

Dukes avoided jail time in January by paying $40,643 in overdue child support just three minutes before a court-imposed deadline. He faces 90 days in jail if he does not make a payment of $39,767 by June 5 at 5 p.m. ET for the legal fees of NiShea Dukes.

"He waited last time until the very last second to make the payment, and I'm sure this time will be no different," Rick Escobar, an attorney for Mrs. Dukes, told the Washington Post.

Grady Irvin, an attorney for the Nationals outfielder, told the newspaper that his client will make the payment. Duke has a monthly sum deducted by the team from his $411,500 to pay support for the three children he has with his wife

The 24-year-old Dukes was batting .277 with four home runs and 24 RBIs before going on the 15-day disabled list on May 20 because of a left hamstring injury. He is currently on a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg.

"Listen, Elijah is having a pretty good season," Irvin told the Washington Post. "He is doing well. He is current on his child support. His wife, NiShea, will go to any length to smear him. She won't even grant a divorce. Elijah has been trying to get a divorce. All this is over attorney's fees. This is not child support. If Elijah Dukes isn't paying child support, it's a different story."

During court proceedings in 2007, NiShea Dukes accused her husband of violent and threatening behavior, steroid use, and said he was a habitual marijuana user. Elijah Dukes admitted under oath that he smoked marijuana and was ordered by a judge to take random drug tests. Dukes has not tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug under Major League Baseball's testing program.

Ed Eagle is a reporter and editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.