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Agency moves to dismiss lawsuit of the guy who made the fake Melky Cabrera website

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The ACES sports agency has moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it in February by Juan Carlos Nunez, their disgraced former consultant.

You may recall that, back in 2012, Nunez admitted to attempting a cover up of Melky Cabrera’s positive test for testosterone by concocting a fake website purporting to advertise a non-existent product in an effort to show that Cabrera took the substance inadvertently. The ruse was quickly discovered, Cabrera served his suspension, Nunez was banned from baseball and the ACES agency was cleared of wrongdoing by the MLBPA. Nunez was later arrested for helping recruit ballplayers for the disgraced Biogenesis lab and served three months in prison as a result of his role in the PED ring.

Despite Nunez’ admission, despite his later criminal conviction for referring ballplayers to the Biogenesis lab, and despite ACES being cleared of wrongdoing, Nunez sued ACES back in February, alleging that ACES agency, among other things, encouraged him to help players get PEDs and encouraged him to make the fake Cabrera website, paying him off to take the fall. It’s not a criminal complaint, mind you: Nunez is looking to get paid for what he admits were illegal acts he carried out.

At the time the complaint was filed, ACES owners Sam and Seth Levinson called the lawsuit a “shakedown” and reminded observers of Nunez’s sketchy history. That was the public response. Today comes the legal response: a motion to dismiss the complaint, filed a few minutes ago.

ACES notes at the outset of its motion that, per his plea agreement in the criminal case several years ago, Nunez was required to make a full disclosure regarding his misconduct and that he then admitted to being the “organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor” of the scheme. He made similar statements to the press, disclaiming any involvement by ACES in the phony website plan. Given how the feds have worked in these PED cases, they very likely would’ve gone easier on Nunez if he could credibly point a finger at someone more significant. That he couldn’t do that then and, only now, years later, is claiming ACES’ involvement is suspect, the motion argues. Indeed, it goes much farther than that, arguing “Nunez’s motive is clear: to extort a settlement from ACES whose business depends on its reputation and client relationships.” The “shakedown” referred to in ACES’ statement in February.

I’ll go one farther than that: if Nunez is telling the truth in his complaint, he’s admitting that he lied to a sentencing judge back in 2015. Which is bold strategy, Cotton.

All of that being said, the current procedural posture of this case requires that all of the allegations stated in Nunez’s complaint be assumed, for the sake of argument, to be true. ACES’ argument is that even if everything Nunez said in his complaint was true, the claims are legally insufficient to hold ACES liable under the law.

It’s a pretty straightforward idea actually: under the law, a criminal cannot use the courts to collect damages which arise out of his own criminal conduct. There are a number of specific legal theories argued in the brief that get at that, but they all amount to the same basic idea: if criminals have some contract in which they agree and/or arrange to do crimes, they can’t use the courts to enforce them. Courts aren’t like the hotel in “John Wick,” designed to cater to a notorious clientele. Indeed, contracts that purport to bind parties to illegal acts are, by definition, illegal and unenforceable. The rest of the claims — Nunez asserted several — all either fail because of that basic idea or because of some subordinate idea that is encompassed by it, ACES argues.

I’ve been out of the legal game for a few years now, but my read on all of this is that it’s a pretty good motion to dismiss. That aside, in the event that the court disagrees with that and lets the case proceed, it strikes me that Nunez is gonna have a lot of trouble making his case. It presents the situation all defense lawyers dream of: being able to ask the plaintiff, under oath, “were you lying then or are you lying now?” That comes along once in a blue moon. I know ACES’ lawyers want this case to go away now, but on some level they have to be itching to ask Nunez that. I know I would be.

Anyway, look for the filing of this motion to get the New York Daily News types to regurgitate their old circa-2012 PED talking points. To dig up Jeff Novitzky and the other anti-PED crusaders of a decade ago and have them once again cast aspersions on agents for the misconduct of others. If and when they do that, take it all with a massive grain of salt. Appreciate what, exactly, Juan Carlos Nunez is actually suing for here and what he has to do to prove his case. If you do, you’ll hopefully see the absurdity of all of this.

 

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 8, Astros 7: Charlie Morton and Shohei Ohtani have been two of the most talked about pitchers to start the season and they faced off in this one. Not too stellar a faceoff, unfortunately, as Mike Trout homered off of the first pitch Morton threw him and Andrelton Simmons followed him in the act. The Angels would score two more off of him in the third and he wouldn’t last four. Meanwhile, Ohtani gave up four runs, including a homer to Derek Fisher and would see another run for which he was responsible score on a Brian McCann go-ahead blast. His night would end having given up four runs as well. Anaheim tied it back up on an Albert Pujols single and then Simmons would hit his second homer of the night — a three-run shot — to give the Angels a lead they would not surrender. Fun fact: Mike Scioscia ran out of mound visits in this one. Unless I missed one, he was the first manager to do so in a game since the mound visit rule was established.

Cubs 10, Indians 3🎶Kyle Schwarber came back to Ohio . . . and his city was gone . . . but the guy who wrote about it . . . was a Republican pawn . . . A, oh, way to go O-hi-o . . .🎶 Two homers for the best thing to come out of Middletown, Ohio over the past decade or so. A homer each for Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Same result as Game 7 in 2016. Pretty much the same weather too. Unfit for man or beast or Josh Tomlin

Yankees 8, Twins 3: Gary Sanchez hit two homers and Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius each went deep as well, with Sanchez and Gregorius each driving in three. Didi has been having such a fantastic year that, eventually, I’m assuming the people who run the ads at Yankee Stadium will spell his name right:

Mets 6, Cardinals 5: Jay Bruce‘s tenth inning homer gave the Mets a lead they’d hold on to for the win. Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer earlier that I’m pretty sure killed (a) a baseball; and (b) Luke Weaver:

463 feet, my man.

In other news, Matt Harvey entered in the top of the fifth inning of this one for his first relief appearance since his demotion to the pen. It didn’t go great. He gave up a run on back-to-back two-out doubles and left after throwing 35 pitches, only 20 of which were strikes. In still other news, the Cardinals initiated a replay challenge after Bruce’s homer, claiming he missed first base. He didn’t miss first base and it wasn’t even particularly close, so I have no idea what the Cardinals were doing there. La Russa may be gone but part of his essence still lingers, I suppose.

Rockies 8, Padres 0: Eight runs in Colorado — seven of them coming in the first two innings — isn’t news, but seven shutout innings from a starting pitcher is. That’s what Kyle Freeland did for the Rockies, striking out eight and grabbing the win. Trevor Story hit a grand slam. There was a scary moment when Freeland was hit by a comebacker, but he stayed in the game. Rockies manager Bud Black said it may have helped: “It smoothed him out. He didn’t overthrow. His focus might have been more heightened, because he was in a little bit of discomfort.” Sources say that Black plans to kick Freeland square in the beans just before he takes the mound for his next start on Sunday.

Giants 4, Nationals 3: Mac Williamson hit his second big homer in as many nights and once again helped the Giants to a win, with his sixth inning solo shot putting San Francisco up for good. The Giants other three runs came via a Brandon Belt two-run homer and a first inning wild pitch from Tanner Roark. Williamson credited the adrenalin from running into a wall the previous half inning for his homer. In light of that, sources say that Bruce Bochy plans to kick Williamson square in the beans just before his first at bat in his next game this afternoon.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Marco Gonzales (6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 8K) and four M’s relievers combine for a five-hit shutout and Mitch Haniger‘s RBI single in the fourth was all the scoring. Chris Volstad got the start for the White Sox. He did pretty good considering, you know, he isn’t really a starter. The White Sox are off to their worst start in 68 years. I wonder how they’d be doing if they, you know, tried.

Reds 9, Braves 7: Cincy took a 5-0 lead behind some dominant pitching from Tyler Mahle, no-hitting the Braves until the seventh inning, but the Braves finally figured him out and crushed the first couple of relievers who followed him, eventually tying things up with four runs in the ninth. Scooter Gennett put an end to Atlanta’s comeback-win delusions, however, launching a two-run walkoff homer in the 12th. That was Gennett’s second homer of the night and his third and fourth RBI. Freddie Freeman went deep twice for Atlanta, both solo shots.

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4: Alex Avila went deep and had three hits and Daniel Descalso and Jarrod Dyson also homered. Dbacks starter Robbie Ray struck out 11 Philly batters but couldn’t escape the fifth inning. I imagine Philly fans either didn’t care or didn’t notice since the Sixers were playing. This is a good time of year for baseball teams in hockey and basketball towns to fly under the radar for a bit.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Curtis Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off homer in the 10th — off of Craig Kimbrel no less — to give the Jays the win in the team’s first game since Monday’s deadly terrorist attack killed ten in the city. The Sox lose their third straight game and suffer their first loss to the Jays in Rogers Centre in their last eight meetups.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: Andrew Triggs allowed only one run over six innings while scattering for hits and punching out six. Mark Canha homered and Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson each doubled in a run to help Oakland to their fourth straight win. Worse news for Texas than the loss was Adrian Beltre straining his left hamstring. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it’s kind of ridiculous that, 25 games into the season, three of the club’s four Opening Day infielders are hurt and the fourth one is playing left field.

Brewers 5, Royals 2: Lorenzo Cain homered against his old team, but that was just late gravy. Earlier Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot that put the game away in the third inning. Sal Perez made his first appearance of 2018 after coming off the disabled list and hit a solo shot. Zach Davies picked up the win after allowing two over six.

Marlins 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. took a 2-1 lead into the eighth but Starlin Castro doubled in the tying run that inning and Cameron Maybin doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth. The Fish snap their five-game losing streak.

Rays vs. Orioles; Tigers vs. Pirates — POSTPONED: The 27th and 28th rainouts of the year so far. So it seems appropriate . . .

28 days of rain
Flash floods in February
Back in our boats again
Bath water and the baby
What am I gonna do?
There’s been a lot of drinking
Looking at ghosts of you
While all the world is sinking

10.000 miles into the atmosphere
My body shakes
Is there a welcome here?

Closest thing to heaven
How do you do it?
Closest thing to heaven, heaven