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NEW YORK -- Even though his appeal hearing is in a monthlong recess, Alex Rodriguez made news twice Tuesday: once for something he did and once for something his lawyer says he did not.
Rodriguez's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told CNN that Rodriguez paid more than $300,000 to obtain evidence relating to Major League Baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis scandal.
|Alex Rodriguez's lead attorney says the player "absolutely" did not receive PEDs from Biogenesis and that baseball "does not have any evidence that he has.''|
Tacopina also told CNN that his client "absolutely" did not use illegal performance-enhancing drugs supplied to him by Biogenesis or its proprietor, Anthony Bosch, who is now baseball's star witness against the New York Yankees third baseman.
"And Major League Baseball does not have any evidence that he has," Tacopina said.
ESPN.com reported on Feb. 1 that sources said Bosch injected Rodriguez with PEDs every few weeks in 2012. Two sources told ESPN.com that documents they reviewed detailed the drug regimens and schedules that Rodriguez followed. At the time, a spokesperson for Rodriguez denied the allegations.
In a further twist to a battle that grows nastier and more bizarre by the day, a source told ESPNNewYork.com that $200,000 of A-Rod's money went to the same man Major League Baseball had previously paid $150,000 for the records that allegedly link Rodriguez to the now-shuttered Coral Gables, Fla., clinic suspected of supplying PEDs to ballplayers.
According to the source, who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality agreement regarding the proceedings stipulated in baseball's collective bargaining agreement, A-Rod spent $200,000 to buy a surreptitiously recorded video of the transaction in which an MLB investigator paid Gary Jones for the records in which Rodriguez's name allegedly appears.
The cash payment to Jones -- made in stacks of $100 bills -- was confirmed by baseball COO Rob Manfred in his closed-door testimony before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz last week at MLB's Park Avenue offices, according to documents from the testimony.
According to the source, Rodriguez also spent $105,000 to obtain text messages between Dan Mullin, an MLB investigator, and a female Biogenesis employee who the A-Rod side alleged in its lawsuit had an affair with Mullin.
It was the first public acknowledgement that Rodriguez had, indeed, bought evidence in the case, although not, according to the source, for the purpose alleged by MLB.
Both purchases, said the source, were to be used as evidence in Rodriguez's lawsuit for tortious interference against MLB and its commissioner, Bud Selig, and not to obstruct the investigation against him or to affect the outcome of his grievance hearing.
"It has nothing to do with the hearing," said the source, "and everything to do with the lawsuit."
Rodriguez made both purchases "within the past month," according to the source, in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Oct. 3.
The existence of the videotape of the exchange of money from an MLB investigator to Jones was confirmed by a second source, who said the video was included in a list of evidence Rodriguez's side intends to present as part of the discovery process in the civil suit against MLB.
It was unclear how Jones, an associate of Porter Fischer -- a disgruntled ex-Biogenesis employee who had taken the records as "collateral" to insure payment of a $4,000 debt owed him by Bosch but was unable to agree to terms with MLB on a deal to sell them -- had come to be in possession of the documents.
Fischer reported the documents stolen from the trunk of his car outside a Boca Raton, Fla., tanning salon on March 24. Jones was questioned by Boca Raton police in connection with the theft in April and denied involvement. The case remains unsolved. A source familiar with the proceedings said baseball officials have said they did not know the documents had been stolen at the time of the purchase.
Manfred declined comment on the matter Tuesday, citing the confidentiality agreement.
The revelation was the latest development in a case that may be on hiatus but never seems to take a break. On Monday, Rodriguez's attorneys convened a press briefing in Midtown to announce they had a "whistle-blower" who would corroborate many of the charges in their lawsuit. But they were forced to cancel it after Horowitz issued an injunctive order prohibiting members of either camp from speaking to the media. After that, Tacopina, Rodriguez's lead attorney, called for the hearing to be made public.
Earlier in the day, Tacopina had issued the first blanket denial of PED use by Rodriguez in connection with the Biogenesis case, telling a CNN interviewer "absolutely not" when asked whether Rodriguez had obtained illegal drugs from Biogenesis.
Baseball has no positive drug test on Rodriguez and is basing its 211-game suspension -- more than four times longer than the 50-game penalty stipulated in the game's joint drug agreement for a first-time offender -- on a "non-analytical positive" dependent largely on the testimony of Bosch and the documents obtained from Jones.
"This is all just a lot of noise from the Rodriguez side to distract from the real issue," said one of the sources, "which is, did he or did he not take [PEDs]?"
Baseball completed the presentation of its case on Oct. 18. The hearing will resume Nov. 18. On Monday, Tacopina said he would need at least a week to present evidence in A-Rod's defense, after which Horowitz has 25 days to render a decision.