Updated: Aug 29, 2022
As reported by TMZ today, Trevor Bauer is suggesting that his alleged accuser edited her injury photographs and also claimed that she had hoped for a major cash settlement from the star. As stated by Bauer’s attorneys “Bauer’s accuser has taken a proceeding designed to prevent future acts of “domestic violence” and turned it into a tool for attracting media attention and attempting to end Bauer’s baseball career.” That is a pretty valid opinion but only partially factually accurate. As stated in my previous post, under California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, a Court may issue a restraining order to prevent domestic violence or abuse if the party seeking the order “shows, to the satisfaction of the Court, reasonable proof of a past act or acts of abuse.” “Abuse includes intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, harassing, making annoying telephone calls to, or disturbing the peace of the other party.” Thus, the hearing set to begin on August 16, 2021, using the plain language of the statute, is to establish whether past abuse has occurred with the intent to prevent future abuse. This all begs the question, why are Bauer’s attorneys bringing the heat today?
From a logical tactical standpoint, today is Thursday. It is well-known in media circles that Thursday is the night of the week where people actually watch TV. By filing these documents now and TMZ acquiring them, they have a real opportunity to be picked up by, at a minimum, by local news but also the national news media for tonight’s evening and late night news. Additionally, with the permanent restraining order hearing set to commence on Monday, this story will likely also be reported in the Sunday newspapers as well as any online newsletters with a sports focus.
Additionally, why else could Bauer pushing back this hard publicly? The reason could be that it might give the individuals running the independent criminal investigation pause. By essentially stating that the victim is exaggerating evidence and looking for a windfall, Bauer is could be trying to destroy her credibility for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. When preparing to file charges and go to trial on a domestic violence case, the victim’s credibility will always be at issue. A victim who (whether deservedly or not) has the ability to be pinned as greedy and/or vindictive by a jury is a very unsympathetic victim. The result of that is the jury may seriously questions anything the victim has to say (however how plausible and likely it may be). If the trial is only the victim’s word vs the Defendant’s, then that is a very steep hill to climb to get a conviction with the victim having real credibility issues. I once had a domestic battery trial where my victim admitted on the stand of conducting a serious of crimes with the Defendant (A mistrial was not granted because it was the Defendant’s attorney who actually asked the question and asked the question in such a way that they opened the door for that exact type of response). The Defendant’s attorney hurt the credibility of the Defendant but hurt my victim’s credibility more and he was later acquitted. It is entirely possible that is what Bauer’s attorneys are doing here. That is because even if Mr. Bauer succeeds in removing the temporary restraining order, the MLB isn’t going to just going to remove him from paid administrative leave. The MLB is still likely to wait until the Pasadena Police Department finishes its investigation and decides whether to arrest Mr. Bauer or hand the case over the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for their review. The MLB needs to cover of a department with more information than they do deciding whether Mr. Bauer faces criminal charges. From there, the MLB is able to decide what the next step is.
Matthew F. Tympanick is an Associate Attorney at Wicker Smith in Sarasota, Florida. He is a graduate of University of Massachusetts School of Law where he served as a Public Interest Fellow and as a Staff Editor on UMass Law Review. He was previously a felony prosecutor in Sarasota, Florida. In over three years as a prosecutor, he prosecuted thousands of domestic violence cases. You can follow him on Twitter @Tympanick20.