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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Legal Matters

Evander Kane accuses wife Anna of assaulting him, gets restraining order

Evander Kane

Evander Kane has been going through an ugly divorce, and the San Jose Sharks star has now obtained a restraining order against his wife Anna.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Kane was granted a temporary restraining order earlier this month after he claimed Anna assaulted him on multiple occasions. Kane says the physical altercations began in 2019, when he claims his estranged wife once hit him “7-8 times in the face with her fist.” That was roughly a year after the two got married.

Kane says Anna assaulted him again in October 2020 and April 2021. One time, Kane claims Anna struck him in the face while her mother was visiting the couple. In the other instance, Evander says Anna “started uncontrollably throwing things at me” after she went threw his phone. She then allegedly punched and slapped Kane in the head repeatedly.

The most recent incident occurred in July, according to the court filing. Kane says he had tried to get away from Anna during an argument when she pushed him and tugged a bag he had around his shoulder. Evander says Anna dangerously swung the couple’s baby around during the same altercation.

Kane is seeking a permanent restraining order against Anna, who filed for divorce from him on July 16. She accused Evander of being an absentee father and gambling on NHL games, including his own. That led to an investigation from the league.

Kane has had financial issues in recent years. In 2019, he was accused of failing to pay back one Las Vegas bookmaker after receiving $500,000 in gambling markers. In February, he was the subject of a brutal lawsuit from one of his creditors that accused him of having a “serious gambling problem.”

The 29-year-old Kane scored 22 goals and tallied 27 assists for the Sharks in 56 games last season. He signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension with the team in 2018.

Photo: Fanny Schertzer/GNU Free License

Pasadena Police Department completes Trevor Bauer investigation

Trevor Bauer

Police have completed their investigation into assault allegations against Trevor Bauer, and it is now up to prosecutors to determine if the Los Angeles Dodgers star should be charged with a crime.

The Pasadena Police Department handed over its findings in the Bauer investigation to the district attorney’s office on Friday, according to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic. The DA will now decide whether to file the case or throw it out.

Bauer was investigated by police for a possible assault of a woman with whom he had two sexual encounters earlier this year. Bauer has said both encounters were consensual. The 30-year-old is also being investigated by Major League Baseball and has been on paid administrative leave. MLB extended his leave for another week on Friday, which means Bauer will not be eligible to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason.

The woman accusing Bauer of assault sought and was granted in June an ex parte restraining order against the pitcher. An ex parte restraining order means the request was granted based on her story, and without a response from Bauer. Bauer had a court hearing last week and a judge dissolved the ex parte restraining order and denied the accuser’s request for a permanent restraining order.

MLB could eventually punish Bauer even if he is not charged. For now, the league and MLB Players Association feel it is best to have him on administrative leave. We recently explained why we do not believe Bauer will pitch again this season.

Nerlens Noel sues Rich Paul for $58 million in lost wages

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel is suing agent Rich Paul and Paul’s Klutch Sports over what he says was poor representation from Paul that cost him money.

Noel filed the lawsuit in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday. The suit names both Paul and Klutch Sports as defendants. Noel is seeking $58 million after claiming to have received poor advice from Paul.

Noel, 27, was represented by agent Happy Walters coming out of Kentucky in 2013. The big man says that he was seated next to Paul during Ben Simmons’ birthday dinner in July 2017, when Paul began to recruit Noel.

According to Noel, Paul told the center he was a “100 million man” and that he could get him a max contract. As a result, Noel took Paul’s advice to stop negotiations on a 4-year, $70 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2017. Noel then dumped Walters and signed with Paul. Noel also signed a $4.1 million qualifying offer with the intent of signing a max contract in free agency.

Well, you can imagine how Noel felt after a max contract offer never came.

Noel suffered a thumb injury during the 2017-2018 season, forcing him to miss 42 games. He alleges that Paul began to lose interest in him as a client during that time.

Noel eventually signed a 2-year, $3.75 million deal with the Thunder ahead of the 2018-2019 season. He alleges the deal arose through recruitment from Russell Westbrook and Paul George, not through Klutch Sports.

Noel declined his player option after the first season but then signed with the Thunder for the minimum the following season after he says he did not receive any offers. Noel alleges that he learned from 76ers coach Brett Brown that Philly wanted to sign him, but Paul did not respond. Noel was considering leaving Klutch Sports, but he was convinced to stay based on the agency telling him they were working on a 3-year deal with OKC. That never materialized.

Noel signed a 1-year, $5 million deal with the Knicks before last season. He then fired Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. Noel alleges that he learned from others that Paul had a reputation for only focusing on his “marquee” clients and not the lesser-known ones.

Noel has since signed a 3-year, $27.7 million deal with the Knicks under the representation of George Langberg.

Noel is suing Paul and Klutch on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, and breach of good faith by interfering with a previous agent relationship and convincing him to sign with them, only to not deliver. He wants $58 million for being convinced to turn down the $70 million contract.

We don’t know if this case will have any legs, but it will result in negative publicity for Paul. It also might give another player a similar idea.

Angels accused of withholding information in Tyler Skaggs case

A former Los Angeles Angels employee is awaiting trial after he was charged with distributing the drugs that led to Tyler Skaggs’ death, and the team is now being accused of withholding information in the case.

Former Angels communications director Eric Kay has been charged with distributing the fentanyl that led to Skaggs’ overdose in July of 2019. Kay’s trial is set to begin in six weeks. According to Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times, federal prosecutors filed a motion in Texas court on Monday claiming the Angels have refused to comply with a subpoena seeking information about members of the organization potentially distributing drugs.

“Put simply, it strains credulity to accept any assertion that the Angels’s organization has not a single document, record, or report for months after one of its pitchers overdosed and died on a trip taken by the team, for months after Kay confessed to another Angels employee that he was in [Skaggs’] room late on June 30, 2019, and witnessed [Skaggs] ingesting drugs; and for weeks after learning about allegations of drug distribution by employee(s) within the organization,” the motion states.

The motion asks the court to order the Angels to produce documents related to “drug distribution within the [Angels] organization” by next Monday. The Angels opposed the motion in court on Tuesday and said the team has “produced thousands of pages of documents and an entire computer hard drive to the government in response to at least five subpoenas and requests for information.” The team says the only documents that haven’t been turned over are “those protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product protections, including those relating to its internal investigation arising out of [Skaggs’] death.”

Kay has been charged with multiple counts of distributing fentanyl dating back to 2017. Prosecutors recently said that several MLB players will testify during the trial to receiving oxycodone from Kay between 2017 and 2019.

Federal prosecutors claim the Angels have documents that discuss how Kay has a history of opioid abuse and has distributed drugs to members of the organization. They say the team also has documents that discuss people other than Kay “unlawfully distributing drugs to players or others in the organization.”

Skaggs, who was 27, died after choking on his own vomit in a hotel room with fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system on July 1, 2019. Before he was charged, Kay had admitted to federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Skaggs and used opioids himself. He said two other Angels employees, one of which was former vice president of communications Tim Mead, knew about Skaggs’ drug use.

The family of Skaggs filed a lawsuit against the Angels earlier this year accusing the organization of wrongful death and negligence.

Clinton Portis subject of arrest warrant for failing to pay child support

Clinton Portis

A court has ordered the arrest of Clinton Portis over his failure to pay child support and appear in court.

The Alachua Chronicle in Florida reported last week about Portis’ situation.

The report says Portis has not made any child support payments to the mother of a child born in March, 2015. The monthly support amount is $1,937. An Aug. 6 hearing stated that Portis owed $147,962.49 plus interest in child support payments.

Portis’ arrest warrant was issued on Aug. 13 after he did not show up to the Aug. 6 hearing.

Now 39, Portis was a second-round pick by Denver in 2002. He played two seasons for the Broncos before being traded to Washington. Portis was a two-time Pro Bowler. He made over $43 million during his playing career but filed for bankruptcy in 2015, citing mismanagement by his financial advisors.

When will Trevor Bauer be back to pitch in MLB?

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer received a legal victory on Thursday, and that has some wondering when the pitcher will make a return to MLB.

Bauer is being investigated by both the Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department and MLB for a possible assault of a woman with whom he had two sexual encounters earlier this year (in April and May). There is no update yet on the status of either investigation. However, there was an update Thursday on the restraining order portion of the matter.

The woman accusing Bauer of assault sought and was granted in June an ex parte restraining order against the pitcher. An ex parte restraining order means the request was granted based on her story, and without a response from Bauer. Bauer finally had his court hearing about the situation, and the judge ruled on Thursday in his favor.

LA Superior Court judge Dianna Gould-Saltman dissolved the ex parte restraining order and denied the request for a permanent restraining order. Gould-Saltman declared that the two sexual encounters were consensual. She also said that what the woman thought was a boundary, and what the woman communicated to Bauer, were two different things. Gould-Saltman determined that Bauer respected the clear boundaries the woman communicated to him.

Gould-Saltman denied the restraining order because she also did not determine Bauer posed a threat to the woman. The pitcher had not contacted the woman for a month prior to her seeking the restraining order.

“We are grateful to the Los Angeles Superior Court for denying the request for a permanent restraining order and dissolving the temporary restraining order against Mr. Bauer today. While we have expected this outcome since the petition was filed in June, we appreciate the Court reviewing all relevant information and testimony to make this informed decision,” Bauer’s attorneys Shawn Holley and Jon Fetterolf said in a statement.

Those are the facts so far. Below we are moving into opinion-based speculation about the matter.

If those were Gould-Saltman’s reasons for denying the restraining order, we doubt that the Pasadena Police Department will move forward with charges against Bauer. If the judge did not find that the woman clearly communicated to Bauer that he was crossing a line, and she found that Bauer respected the boundaries the woman did set, then the police and any prosecutor will likely have a difficult time proving he committed a crime.

Bauer already has defeated the request for a restraining order. Next, the police will likely say they are not charging Bauer with a crime. From there, it will be up to MLB to see whether they punish Bauer. The league could punish him for engaging in violent behavior with the woman, regardless of whether the behavior was consensual or not.

My guess is that whatever happens, Bauer will not pitch again this season. The Dodgers already seemed to hint that Bauer will not be back with them. He would have to be in a team’s organization by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason, and he is just running out of time to be able to pitch again this season.

First, Bauer’s paid administrative leave period, which is running through Aug. 20, would have to end. The administrative leave probably will not end until the police and/or MLB conclude their investigations. Then Bauer would have to resume a throwing program to ramp up to pitch again, which could take some time. But none of that will even matter if the Dodgers don’t want him on the team.

My guess is they will probably trade or cut him over the offseason. Bauer then likely won’t pitch again until next season. And he probably won’t find a new team for several months, after a good portion of the negative attention from the allegations have passed.

Bauer has been receiving pay while out on administrative leave. He is in the first season of a 3-year, $102 million contract he signed with the Dodgers prior to the season.

Trevor Bauer releases text messages to defend himself against latest allegation

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer is facing another round of assault allegations after a new story was published over the weekend, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher has once again vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

According to Gus Garcia-Roberts and Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Washington Post, an Ohio woman sought a protection order against Bauer in June 2020. Photos obtained by the Post show the woman with a bruised face and bloody eyes, which the woman’s attorney claims were caused by Bauer choking and punching her during sex without her consent.

A police report from 2017 also showed that the woman attempted to show officers injuries to her eyes that she claimed were caused by Bauer. Bauer contacted police, accusing the woman of assaulting him and then refusing to leave. When police arrived, they found the woman noticeably intoxicated, while Bauer alleged she had struck him and showed officers scratches on his arm as evidence. Bauer declined to press charges.

Bauer released a statement in response to the Washington Post story. He said the woman harassed and physically assaulted him and attempted to extort him for $3.4 million last year to “remain silent.” Bauer then provided screenshots of a lengthy text message conversation he had with the woman in which she wanted to drive to meet with him in Cincinnati. He refused, but she says she drove four hours in an attempt to see him anyway. Bauer repeatedly declined to meet with the woman and eventually booked her a hotel room when she said she was on the verge of a panic attack and had nowhere to stay.

Bauer said he sent the screenshots to the Washington Post for their story but they were ignored. You can see them below:

The allegations were similar to the ones from a different woman that have led to Bauer being placed on administrative leave. Bauer’s representatives previously provided text messages to Larry Brown Sports that they say help prove the pitcher’s innocence in that case. You can see those screenshots here.

In a recent court filing, Bauer’s lawyers said the initial woman who accused the right-hander of assault may have edited images that she claimed showed the injuries Bauer inflicted on her.

Bauer, who has not pitched since June 28, is on paid administrative leave through at least Aug. 20.

Report: Deshaun Watson is subject of grand jury investigation

Deshaun Watson

A new report indicates that Deshaun Watson is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation that could result in charges against the Houston Texans quarterback.

According to Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston, a grand jury has been convened to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against Watson stemming from 22 lawsuits filed against him alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The Harris County District Attorney’s office is reportedly in the process of sending out subpoenas to possible witnesses, and refused to comment on the report.

A grand jury is convened to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against an individual. It will not make a determination over whether Watson is guilty or not guilty, but if it does find sufficient evidence, it could indict Watson, leading to a potential trial.

Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct, and ten women have filed formal police complaints. Watson is in camp with the Texans despite wanting to be traded, though a deal does not appear likely right now.

Omar Vizquel sued by autistic bat boy alleging sexual harassment

Omar Vizquel

Former MLB All-Star Omar Vizquel is being sued by a former Birmingham Barons batboy who alleges he was sexually harassed by the former infielder.

Vizquel, 54, played in MLB from 1989-2012, winning 11 gold gloves during his career. He later went into coaching and became a manager in the Chicago White Sox’s minor league system.

Vizquel was promoted to the manager of the Barons (Double-A) after the 2018 season but was dismissed in 2019 after the White Sox investigated allegations into Vizquel.

The former batboy, who is 25, alleges that Vizquel told him he was sexually interested in men. The batboy told allegedly made it clear to Vizquel that he was not interested in a relationship. That did not stop Vizquel from allegedly approaching the batboy from behind a few times while partially undressed. The batboy alleges Vizquel exposed a fully or partially erect penis to him numerous times, with an alleged aim of sexual gratification. The batboy alleges Vizquel brought him into the shower once and asked the batboy to wash his back for him.

Vizquel was initially suspended with pay as the allegations were investigated. He was fired by the White Sox in September.

The batboy believes Vizquel had a pattern of treating batboys that way. The lawsuit states that a Detroit Tigers batboy tweeted in 2015 that “Omar Vizquel told me first day batboys have to clean the coaches backs in the showers.”

Larry Brown Sports found the tweet. The tweet includes a crying laughing emoji, which makes it pretty clear the Tigers batboy found Vizquel’s comment to be a joke.

That Tigers batboy told The Athletic he found the comment odd and thought it was a joke. That person said he did not wash Vizquel’s back.

Vizquel was also arrested in 2016 for alleged physical and emotional abuse of his wife. Vizquel denied the abuse allegations and was never charged. But his wife filed for divorce proceedings last year.

Ezekiel Elliott once again sued over alleged dog attack

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott has been sued multiple times for his dogs allegedly attacking people, and the latest accuser is seeking a massive sum of money from the Dallas Cowboys star.

According to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, a woman named Jennifer Gampper says she is Elliott’s neighbor in Frisco, Texas, and was attacked by one of his dogs on May 20, 2021. Gampper says a landscaping company, Perfect Synthetic Grass, was doing work at Elliott’s house when the running back’s dog escaped. Gampper claims she suffered serious and permanent injuries when Elliott’s dog attacked her. She is also suing the landscaping company.

Gampper is seeking more than $1 million in the lawsuit.

Elliott’s lawyer, Frank Salzano, told TMZ that Elliott is “concerned” about his neighbor.

“However, as in most disputes, there are extenuating circumstances to this matter which will impact the legal proceedings which we are not at liberty to disclose,” Salzano said. “As such, we have no further comment at this time.”

Police previously investigated the attack and listed Gampper as one of the “victims.” The police report said that three of Elliott’s dogs had escaped that day. Elliott was issued three citations. Elliott’s rottweiler, Ace, had a “dangerous dog hearing” after the incident and was required to be removed from the city.

Gampper’s lawsuit is at least the third against Elliott stemming from his dogs’ alleged behavior. Elliott was sued earlier this year after an employee at a pet resort claimed he was violently attacked by the Cowboys star’s dog. Elliott’s dogs were also accused of attacking a pool cleaner last year.