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Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Restraining order against Nationals' Dukes dismissed news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- A woman's request for a restraining order against Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes was dismissed after she failed to show for a hearing Tuesday.

Elijah Dukes


Dukes, who was traded last month by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Nationals, appeared in court alone. He replied "No" when Judge Raul C. Palomino Jr. asked whether he had anything to do with Amanda Reese's absence. The judge then dismissed Reese's request for an injunction.

Reese, 23, was granted a temporary injunction Dec. 10 after she said she feared Dukes would harm her. In documents, Reese said she and Dukes briefly dated and she felt threatened by his phone calls and text messages. The pair split in October, she said.

"At this point, I fear for me and my child's life, due to his past history with his estranged wife," Reese, 23, wrote in her petition for the order, according to media reports.

Dukes declined to comment afterward. A working telephone number for Reese could not be found Tuesday. Reese is shown in court papers as representing herself.

Nationals president Stan Kasten declined to comment Tuesday.

In May, Dukes' estranged wife, NiShea Gilbert, sought a restraining order. She said he repeatedly hreatened her and their two children in phone calls and text messages, including one that had a photo of a handgun. In one voice mail message she played for the St. Petersburg Times, Dukes is heard saying "you dead, dawg."

Gilbert also said the 23-year-old player appeared at the middle school where she teaches and threatened her in her classroom while the students were at lunch.

Dukes began last season as Tampa Bay's starting center fielder. The rookie batted .190 with 10 homers and 21 RBIs in 52 games. He was optioned to the minors and placed on the inactive list after his wife's accusations.

When the Nationals dealt for Dukes on Dec. 13, the team said it believed Dukes was committed to putting his past behind him and said it would support him in that effort. Since 1997, Dukes has been arrested at least three times for battery and once for assault, faced multiple paternity suits and admitted using marijuana.

"All I will say is that we have been working with him on a number of fronts since the day of the trade," team president Stan Kasten said in an e-mail, according to The Washington Post. "And since that time he has been cooperative and responsive to all of our requirements."

Pucino, who said he spoke to Dukes on Monday, told the Post he was pleased with how the team had helped his client.

"He's on a very diligent program that he's been following, one that Washington put in place," Pucino said, according to the Post. "He's on a program to help him succeed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.