Johan Santana moves to have the sexual assault case against him dismissed

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A year ago,  Johan Santana was accused of rape. The police investigated, found the accuser’s statements “to be inconsistent with that of other witnesses” and declined to file charges.  Back in August, Santana’s accuser filed a civil suit in Florida.  Santana is now asking that it be dismissed. Why? Because the accuser filed it anonymously, using a Jane Doe, rather than using her real name.

Those of you who have filed high profile trials involving rape or sexual abuse may be wondering why Santana would be asking this, given how common it is for alleged victims to be given anonymity. But that’s mostly in criminal cases, where the victims are merely witnesses, not parties to the suit. In civil suits, such as this one, the accuser is a party seeking money damages. In such cases, the presumption of our legal system is that it is open to the public, and that anonymity is only granted a party if his or her interest in maintaining their privacy outweighs the public interests invoked by an open legal system.

While this is a matter that continues to be litigated, the burden to remain anonymous in a civil lawsuit is pretty high, and it’s not at all uncommon for courts to require that a Jane Doe plaintiff either sue under her own name or else drop the suit, even in sexual assault and rape cases.

And yeah, I realize this has little to do with baseball, but there are a handful of legal issues in the world that still hold my interest, and this is one of them, so you get my ramblings on it.  Wait around a while and I’m sure someone’s option will be picked up.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.