According to The N.Y. Daily News, the high-profile defense attorney had to be physically restrained from brawling with another lawyer two weeks ago during his defense of Rodriguez when the steroid-stained slugger’s appeal kicked off in the normally sedate Park Avenue offices of Major League Baseball.
The News reported:
According to several sources with knowledge of the altercation, Tacopina instigated a confrontation with Julio Ayala, one of the Miami attorneys who represent Anthony Bosch, the proprietor of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic that was a source of performance-enhancing drugs for more than a dozen big leaguers — and MLB’s chief witness.
During the first week of the arbitration, the sources say, Tacopina launched an aggressive attack on Bosch’s credibility after Bosch authenticated a pile of documents and electronic communications that MLB says reflect the league’s conclusion that Rodriguez acquired banned substances from Bosch over several years. It was during a break in one of those tense sessions that Tacopina and Ayala nearly came to blows.
The sources told the Daily News that Tacopina — who was frustrated that Bosch’s testimony had dominated the first three days of the hearing — asked another MLB attorney how long he planned on having baseball’s most important witness on the stand during the break in the testimony on Oct. 2.
The attorney, the sources said, told Tacopina that Bosch’s testimony would take several more hours and might spill over to the next day. “Well, I guess we have all of October, and by then Mr. Bosch will be in jail,” Tacopina replied, referring to the fact that Bosch and his now-defunct clinic are being investigated by Florida state authorities and federal law-enforcement officials from the Southern District of Florida.
Tacopina and Ayala both declined to comment on the incident when contacted by The News, citing the confidentiality order barring participants in the arbitration hearing from discussing it publicly. It is not known if arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who will ultimately decide if Rodriguez’s suspension should be upheld, reduced or overturned, witnessed the altercation.
The incident is not likely to be part of the official record, since the court reporter was taking a break at the time.
Rodriguez and Bosch did not witness the confrontation — they were both using the men’s room when things got heated in the arbitration room.
One source told The News that Tacopina apologized to Ayala the following day, and that Ayala accepted the apology and said he wished to put the incident behind them.
Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension resumes Wednesday.