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Monday, August 19, 2013

A-Rod’s Lawyer Melts Down on Today

  A-Rod’s lawyer Joe Tacopina “would love nothing more” than to defend A-Rod and to talk about his testing history. If only MLB would be kind enough to waive the confidentiality agreement in the joint-drug agreement!

Well, at the beginning of an interview on the Today show this morning, Matt Lauer revealed that MLB—in clever, twisted fashion—sent a letter “overnight” saying they’d do exactly that. Tacopina, unprepared for this news, promptly short circuits.

At this point, I’m fairly certain that WWE is booking the A-Rod saga.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 01:39 PM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: a-rod, bosch, hgh, peds, steroids, wwe

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   1. Depressoteric Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4522747)
Oops!

Just in terms of theater, MLB definitely got one over on A-Rod's legal team right there in PR terms.

Pretty shite move in legal terms, however. No lawyer is going to sit there and sign a waiver of confidentiality on live TV without properly reviewing the documents and conferring with his client. That would be a great way to get to meet your state bar's Disciplinary Review Board up close and personal, with the potential revocation of your law license as the primary topic of discussion. What did Matt Lauer expect? (Well obviously it was about creating a 'gotcha' moment, in which case well done.)
   2. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4522750)
Doh!
   3. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4522751)
What a character this Joe Tapioca is. This is going to be entertaining as all hell.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4522752)
Talk about looking like a horse's ass.
   5. Traderdave Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4522753)
Meltdown?

Nah...
   6. bunyon Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4522755)
No lawyer is going to sit there and sign a waiver of confidentiality on live TV without properly reviewing the documents and conferring with his client.

Wouldn't this be a good reason for a lawyer not to go on national TV ahead of any hearings? Especially after calling out his foes the night before?
   7. Traderdave Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4522756)
I haven't followed every detail of this story so maybe it's been answered, but does MLB have subpoena power? How else would they get hold of emails, texts, etc?

   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4522757)
Well, the "Boy, I would just LOVE to talk about it, but unfortunately..." strategy has a storied history of great results for, off the top of my head, Rafael Palmeiro and Rod Blagojevich.
   9. Depressoteric Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4522760)
Wouldn't this be a good reason for a lawyer not to go on national TV ahead of any hearings? Especially after calling out his foes the night before?
Sure. No question but that this guy was blowing smoke earlier -- even Ray sounded a note of caution about that in the other thread. But high-profile cases like this one are litigated largely in public, it's part of the entire rigamarole.

Tacopina didn't handle this well either, by the way. If I had been him I would have said "thanks Matt, I'm going to take these documents and review them carefully, confer with my client, and then we'll see. That's my legal and professional responsibility as an attorney, I can't just sign away Alex's rights on live TV today without speaking to him first unless I want to get disbarred tomorrow. For all I know this might be a trap by MLB, and we're going to take our time with this."

That's how you do it.
   10. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4522762)
You could more plausibly spin it as flop sweat on MLB's part. You don't screw around with an airtight case, you sit on it.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4522763)
#9, yeah, that's how you do it if you haven't clearly decided in advance that every sentence you utter has to include "would love NOTHING MORE" as your talking point.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4522764)
Oh sheesh, I didn't realize this was Joe Tacopina. The guys is a total sleezebag and is always on TV. Has anyone seen the documentary "A Lawyer Walks into a Bar" about the legal profession? Wasn't Tacopina the one that was trolling for consumer product lawsuits, like suing a sunscreen company because they didn't literally screen the sun?


I haven't followed every detail of this story so maybe it's been answered, but does MLB have subpoena power? How else would they get hold of emails, texts, etc?


They do not. They get evidence through informants like Brian McNamee and Anthony Bosch.

   13. hee came hee seop'd he choi'd Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4522767)
They sued biogenesis and asked for their documents in conjunction with a deposition notice/written discovery for the case.
   14. Depressoteric Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4522769)
Has anyone seen the documentary "A Lawyer Walks into a Bar" about the legal profession? Wasn't Tacopina the one that was trolling for consumer product lawsuits, like suing a sunscreen company because they didn't literally screen the sun?
Tacopina is a criminal defense attorney, so I'd be surprised if it was the same guy. Could be, though. Would be just perfect, if so.
   15. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4522771)
Was there more than what was in the link because i don't see a meltdown in the link.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4522787)
I haven't followed every detail of this story so maybe it's been answered, but does MLB have subpoena power? How else would they get hold of emails, texts, etc?


By outbidding ARod for Bosch's evidence, and for coming up with the idea to sue Bosch for leverage, something ARod did not think of.
   17. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 19, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4522795)
Tacopina was so close -- all he had to do was sit there and silently read the letter on air.
   18. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: August 19, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4522799)
Boy, I was expecting a whole lot more from a supposed "meltdown". Basically the guy was surprised, awkwardly stumbled over some words, and then (as he should have) noted that he wasn't going to simply sign something without reading it.
   19. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4522802)
Was there more than what was in the link because i don't see a meltdown in the link.


That's because there wasn't one. Tacopina no more "melted down" than ARod was "in a tirade" (Daily News headline this morning) during the game after being hit by Dempster last night. (The headline was comical because ARod's reaction and behavior throughout the game was notable for how subdued it was.)

But two points on this issue:

1. Tacopina is not an idiot. He would not make a public demand for MLB to waive the confidentiality clause without being willing to do so himself. So he has to have wanted this... or he really is an idiot.

Although there is something notable: Tacopina said that they have wanted MLB to waive the confidentiality clause for 3-4 weeks. But Cornwell said about a week ago that they haven't even seen the entirety of MLB's evidence yet since Cornwell hasn't made a formal request for it yet. I can't imagine a lawyer wanting evidence released to the public in this type of setting that he hasn't yet seen himself. So, I don't really know what to make of all of this.

2. It's not clear to me that the two parties can waive the confidentiality here even if they want to. The confidentiality provisions are part of the JDA, so at a minimum they would need the MLBPA to sign off on this. And perhaps the arbitrator as well. So maybe that's Tacopina's end game: he can't have his bluff called because the calling of his bluff would never make it through the barriers set up. (From the MLBPA's perspective, if the confidentiality is waived here, then there will be pressure on all future players to waive the confidentiality.)

Not having seen the evidence, I can't say. But if I were representing ARod I'd want the confidentiality in place. The problem is that MLB is violating it via leaks incessantly.

I'd actually look to see if the violation by MLB of the confidentiality can help erase the penalty in some way - unclean hands or some such.
   20. dlf Posted: August 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4522854)
I haven't followed every detail of this story so maybe it's been answered, but does MLB have subpoena power? How else would they get hold of emails, texts, etc?


The on-going lawsuit against Biogenesis / Bosch gives the parties some -- theoretically limited -- ability to issue subpoenas to non-parties.

This reminds me a little of the Prenda Law cases where a sleazy law firm would sue someone for illegal porn downloading, use that case to get phone and ISP records from tens of thousands of people completely unrelated to the named defendant, then sending demand letters threatening to expose those unrelated individuals' personal proclivities. And the original lawsuit is usually dismissed with no monetary award; instead, it is used solely to get names, numbers, etc. for later leverage.
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4522861)
Further to my point 2 in post 19 Tacopina has now released this statement:

Tacopina later issued a written statement in which he called the letter "a publicity stunt."

"Such a waiver would require PA to be party of the agreement and signatures," Tacopina said in the statment, referring to the players' union. "Nothing but a trap hoping I would sign knowing that I couldn't and in fact would have me breaching the JDA agreement."


It's worth noting that Tacopina had previously publicly asked that MLB waive in writing the confidentiality provision, so if it's a publicity stunt on their part it is on his part as well. As I've said, I'm not in love with every step of his strategy here.

I also think that waiving the confidentiality provisions here could be seen as re-opening the CBA/JDA without going through the bargaining process. The confidentiality provisions exist for the benefit of the union as a whole, not just one player. So I wouldn't expect the provisions to be waived.

DLF: Can the arbitrator issue a gag order here, and in effect tell both parties to STFU until the process is over? It seems that both sides are now so caked in mud that it's doing neither of them much good.

Except I actually do think Tacopina has managed to raise issues in defense of ARod that people weren't stopping to consider. MLB's relentless pursuing of him - as well as the commentary from the players and now last night's beaning - I think has turned him into a more sympathetic figure.

If Horowitz has the power to issue a gag order I would expect him to do so within the next 24 hours.
   22. dlf Posted: August 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4522864)
DLF: Can the arbitrator issue a gag order here, and in effect tell both parties to STFU until the process is over?


Can he? Yes. But it would be incredibly rare to do so sua sponte. Since it appears that both sides have engaged in countless leaks and have decided to try the case to the press instead of the arbitrator, I don't know who would have the motive to move for such an order.
   23. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 19, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4522907)
Tacopina is very good at what he does.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4522909)
Tacopina is very good at what he does.


It's clear he has succeeded in turning the tables on the Yankees a bit in the sense that now a wash of reporters are asking Yankee officials things like what they knew about ARod's injury and when, what they said to doctors, what they said to ARod, etc. And it's "in the air" that the Yankees may indeed have wanted to hasten the end of his career. Cashman's bizarre "ARod should STFU" comment really adds fuel to that.

And Tacopina has highlighted the issues associated with MLB's investigators and MLB's behavior, thus prompting reporters to be more interested in that aspect as well.

   25. DA Baracus Posted: August 19, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4522922)
Ah, Deadspin. That's not close to a meltdown.
   26. bobm Posted: August 19, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4522955)
It's clear he has succeeded in turning the tables on the Yankees a bit in the sense that now a wash of reporters are asking Yankee officials things like what they knew about ARod's injury and when, what they said to doctors, what they said to ARod, etc. And it's "in the air" that the Yankees may indeed have wanted to hasten the end of his career. Cashman's bizarre "ARod should STFU" comment really adds fuel to that. 

And Tacopina has highlighted the issues associated with MLB's investigators and MLB's behavior, thus prompting reporters to be more interested in that aspect as well.


Too bad there is no jury pool to poison in an arbitration. Otherwise this may have been worth a damn.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: August 19, 2013 at 08:33 PM (#4522957)
sua sponte

With a little parmesan on top, a nice salad on the side and a glass of good red, this is delicious.
   28. The District Attorney Posted: August 19, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4522964)
Unfortunately for A-Rod, I think that when the narrative is "everything is always a big, complex drama with this guy -- he's more trouble than he's worth", that's essentially an inescapable trap. You can make all the good points you want about how that's a really unfair narrative to hang on somebody. But in the process of doing so, you're keeping the drama going and thus reinforcing the narrative as you attempt to attack it.

From a public relations standpoint, I think I would advise him and his lawyer to STFU.

(Now obviously his lawyer needs to vigorously advocate for him in front of the arbitrator, but he apparently has also taken on the PR job and my remarks are limited to that aspect.)

Oh sheesh, I didn't realize this was Joe Tacopina. The guys is a total sleezebag and is always on TV. Has anyone seen the documentary "A Lawyer Walks into a Bar" about the legal profession? Wasn't Tacopina the one that was trolling for consumer product lawsuits, like suing a sunscreen company because they didn't literally screen the sun?
He's on the IMDb cast list, anyway.
   29. dejarouehg Posted: August 19, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4522978)
You have to wonder what Arod's long-term strategy is. If it's eventually to get back on the field asap, you have to question the approach. He may get his money (along with a virtual certain release/buyout) but the ill-will he's creating might even turn off a slug like Loria to take a flyer on him. And, if he is suspended for all of next year, this may be the end for him.
   30. ptodd Posted: August 19, 2013 at 10:05 PM (#4523036)
You have to wonder what Arod's long-term strategy is. If it's eventually to get back on the field asap, you have to question the approach. He may get his money (along with a virtual certain release/buyout) but the ill-will he's creating might even turn off a slug like Loria to take a flyer on him. And, if he is suspended for all of next year, this may be the end for him.


Arod has a net worth over 300 million with another 100 million to come. He has had a great career, and he knows he has no shot at the HOF in his lifetime. I think he is just prepared to go down swinging, competitor that he is. Worst case, he loses, serves out a 211 game suspension, gets cut by the Yankees and paid the balance of what he is owed, is blackballed by every other team, and goes on with his merry rich life.

Maybe he plays in Japan for fun if he likes the food and girls there, or he just finds something to do with all that money that keeps him occupied, much like the Magic Johnsons and Michael Jordans of the world.

Heck, maybe he sets up a second league to compete with MLB, wouldn't that be fun.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 19, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4523137)
You have to wonder what Arod's long-term strategy is. If it's eventually to get back on the field asap, you have to question the approach. He may get his money (along with a virtual certain release/buyout) but the ill-will he's creating might even turn off a slug like Loria to take a flyer on him. And, if he is suspended for all of next year, this may be the end for him.


? He's back on the field. And has a damned good chance of getting the suspension reduced significantly.

Aside from the money lost to whatever the suspension ends up being, he will get every dime the Yankees owe him. He will not accept a buyout for a dime less than what they owe him. No reason to.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 20, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4523163)
A-Rod's salary decreases from $28M in 2013 to $25M in 2014 & $21M in 2015. Just moving the suspension into the "lower salary" years saves A-Rod a couple of million; if he can substantially reduce the suspension, he saves even more, but I'm not sure he comes out that far ahead after paying attorney fees. But the beyond the economic reasons, A-Rod is challenging the suspension because he wants to play. Contrary to some suggestions, it appears that his teammates and manager also want him to play. Don't see why he should worry about how various team officials might feel. If they really don't want him to play, they could offer A-Rod a buyout. Don't see that happening unless he is physically unable to play.
   33. KT's Pot Arb Posted: August 20, 2013 at 02:55 AM (#4523181)
Plus he's only a few HR from a $6M bonus.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: August 20, 2013 at 03:41 AM (#4523184)
It's a tiny sample but ARod is at 319/407/489. He's already got .5 WAR compared to the other Yanks 3B at 0 or below.

Is two months enough time to win comeback player of the year? :-)
   35. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4523301)
Probably not worth its own thread, but perhaps an equally game-changing sidebar to the incredible Today Show "meltdown":
Brian Cashman Knew About Yankee Steroid Use, Didn't Care, Indicted Ex-Mistress Claims

"Louise Meanwell is said to have told her lawyer Stephen Turano that Cashman told her he was aware of steroid use in the Yankees clubhouse, but didn't care as long as it didn't harm the team's reputation, the [court] document says.

Meanwell also told Turano that Cashman told her he intentionally misled investigators during the investigation into pitcher Roger Clemons's steroid use, the document alleges.
   36. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4523311)
I, for one, welcome our 1970s redux overlords.
   37. SG Posted: August 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4523318)
I have to say, nothing shouts credible source quite like the phrase "Indicted Ex-Mistress."

That being said, I'm pretty sure just about every MLB front office knew about steroid use and just didn't want it to get back to them.
   38. Rusty Priske Posted: August 20, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4523416)
You call that a meltdown?

I call that cheap tactics on behalf of the Today Show. Did they expect this guy to sign in right there and start talking about something he wasn't prepared for?

If he had done any of that A-Rod should have fired him.
   39. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 20, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4523549)
This might've been mentioned in one of the many other Rodriguez threads, but I hope he plays well enough, or quits early enough, to preserve the .300 lifetime BA. He's fewer than 10 hits on the good side of .300 now, and, it's weird, for all the reasons I shouldn't care (primarily laundry-based), I'd still prefer he not get Mantle'd.
   40. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 20, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4523558)
Meanwell also told Turano that Cashman told her he intentionally misled investigators during the investigation into pitcher Roger Clemons's steroid use, the document alleges.


That's gonna cost Cashman 211 games.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4523601)
I have to say, nothing shouts credible source quite like the phrase "Indicted Ex-Mistress."


Very true.

On the other hand, Cashman doesn't come off smelling like roses in any event.
   42. dejarouehg Posted: August 20, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4523681)
? He's back on the field. And has a damned good chance of getting the suspension reduced significantly.

Aside from the money lost to whatever the suspension ends up being, he will get every dime the Yankees owe him. He will not accept a buyout for a dime less than what they owe him. No reason to.


True, it is likely he will get all his money other than what the suspension costs him. I doubt he will take a buyout from the Yankees (why would he?) but I'll bet they waive him after the suspension - certainly if it is for the season.

This way, someone else would have to pick him up for him to reach the milestone HR's (which the NYY would have to pay) and it is possible, no one may want this baggage and they save that money. (Does he get a bonus for 3000 hits? I think he is around 80 off.)

This is why I don't understand his strategy. It's not going to endear him to anyone in MLB (as a 39 year old coming off suspension with questionable health) and it will most likely cause the Yankees to cut him after the suspension.
   43. andrewberg Posted: August 20, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4523815)
This way, someone else would have to pick him up for him to reach the milestone HR's (which the NYY would have to pay) and it is possible, no one may want this baggage and they save that money. (Does he get a bonus for 3000 hits? I think he is around 80 off.)

This is why I don't understand his strategy. It's not going to endear him to anyone in MLB (as a 39 year old coming off suspension with questionable health) and it will most likely cause the Yankees to cut him after the suspension.


Not only is he within reach of 3000 hits, he would likely pass Mantle in a half season or less, so the several million that would cost get tacked onto whatever another team would be willing to pay.

In other words, if he wants to continue to play, it's possible that he would have to accept a sort of buyout where he gets most of his salary in exchange for not having those incentive payments hanging over a potential future team. Yankees save a bit of money, A-Rod get a chance to play somewhere else and most of his salary.
   44. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: August 21, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4524099)
Oh sheesh, I didn't realize this was Joe Tacopina. The guys is a total sleezebag and is always on TV. Has anyone seen the documentary "A Lawyer Walks into a Bar" about the legal profession? Wasn't Tacopina the one that was trolling for consumer product lawsuits, like suing a sunscreen company because they didn't literally screen the sun?


I rented A Lawyer Walks into a Bar to check. Tacopina just appears briefly (billed as a defense attorney) to say things like how it's easy to mock lawyers until you need one.

Kind of disappointing.
   45. bob gee Posted: August 21, 2013 at 07:44 AM (#4524138)
42 - with the way he's performing now, alex would have a pretty strong case that the yanks were cutting him solely to avoid him hitting the milestone payments. just like a starting pitcher needs to reach X wins / innings, is performing decently, and then is sent to the minors / not allowed to start...

there's precedent on it.


   46. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 21, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4524473)
The boring and insincere aftermath from Newsday:

"This letter's nice," Tacopina said to Lauer. "They could have sent it to me last night and I would have been prepared to execute it."

But later in the day, Tacopina told Newsday the letter was a "cheap publicity stunt" and a "theatrical trap" that MLB set up hoping that he would commit a violation of the collective bargaining agreement by doing so.

"They know full well that they have to address that letter to the [player's union]," he said. "A waiver of any confidential clause would require that the MLBPA be a party."

The MLBPA acknowledged that to be the case Monday... [MLB's Rob Manfred said] "We are more than happy to add a signature line for the MLBPA to my letter."
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4524636)
The Daily Selig is now reporting that Tacopina will have a formal response to MLB's ambush letter today.

(I don't mean "ambush" as a slight on MLB; Tacopina invited their response and they responded. And I can't really blame Lauer for the theatrics. I do think that both sides' lawyers have turned this into even more of a circus than it needs to be.)
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4524639)
Just to highlight the absurdity of what went on in late June:

“Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news — the green light to play games again!” read the tweet on A-Rod’s official account.


“You know what? When the Yankees want to announce something, (we will),” Cashman told ESPN New York. “Alex should just shut the f--- up. That’s it. I’m going to call Alex now.”



   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4524703)
Looks like ARod has issued a gag order to his side:

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez has instructed his legal team to quiet down the rhetoric with the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball because he wants the focus just to be on baseball.

"I'm shutting it all down," Rodriguez told ESPNNewYork.com. "I'm shutting it all down, just focusing on baseball, just baseball."

Rodriguez recently hired aggressive lawyer Joe Tacopina, who went through the media last weekend and into Monday to attack the Yankees, their team president and doctors, plus MLB. The Yankees and the league denied the various allegations.

Rodriguez made it clear it was his decision to retire all the off-the-field talk so he and his teammates can focus on the playoff push.

"We have 30-something games? That's the only focus," Rodriguez said. "That's coming from me."

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