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Alex Rodriguez Suspension Appeal Hearing: A-Rod's Lawyer Blocked From Press Conference, Hearing Has 'Cloak Of Secrecy' [VIDEO]

Mike Smollins
By Mike Smollins @MikeSmollins
on Oct 22, 2013 09:54 AM EDT
Alex Rodriguez
New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez insists he'll be at spring training despite the fact he's suspended for the entire 2014 season. (Photo : Reuters)

Despite the appeals process taking a hiatus for a month, the battle between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball rages on. In the latest twist in the hearing of A-Rod's grievance over his unprecedented 211-game suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic and its founder Anthony Bosch, the embattled New York Yankees third baseman's lawyer was asked call off a news briefing in their New York City offices by arbitrator Frederic Horowitz.

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According to ESPN, Rodriguez's legal team called for a news briefing in their midtown office on Monday afternoon to "tell the truth" to the media about what is going on in the trial, but it was abruptly halted by Horowitz, the arbitrator that will decide on the validity of commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB's claims against Rodriguez.

"I've been involved in federal trials that don't have the cloak of secrecy that this one does," Rodriguez's lead attorney Joe Tacopina told ESPN Monday.

Tacopina wants the grievance hearing to be opened to the media and public when it resumes with the defense's argument on Nov. 18, but due to stipulations with the collective bargaining agreement, the hearing has been bound by a confidentiality agreement, reports ESPN.

"We're not asking them to rewrite the book," Tacopina said via ESPN. "But it seems there's been selective leaks, and it's just not fair. We would prefer this hearing was open to the press. All we want is for the truth to come out."

Tacopina noted that it's frustrating for his legal team that the case has been closed and he wants the latest testimony of Rob Manfred, baseball's chief operating officer, to be released to the public.

ESPN reports that the reason Tacopina and A-Rod's attorneys called for the meeting with the press was to release a 100-plus page presentation of allegations from a person that the legal team called a "whistle-blower from inside MLB," though they didn't specify in what capacity this person worked for MLB.

The meeting with the press was slated for 5:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, but an order to refrain on the meeting from Horowitz came to the Lexington Avenue office of the Reed-Smith law firm at 5:05 p.m., and Tacopina was an hour late which delayed the meeting even further, ESPN reports. When it finally began, Tacopina noted that the conference couldn't be recorded by the press at the insistence of Horowitz.

"We're not prepared to ignore an order from the arbitration panel," Jim McCarroll, a member of Rodriguez's legal team, told ESPN.

Tacopina wouldn't answer any questions during the briefing, and had to comply with the orders of Horowitz.

"We sit here and try to comply with the order," Tacopina said per ESPN. "We don't want to try this thing in the press."

The case will now be delayed for a month, but if Monday showed anything, Tacopina, A-Rod and the rest of the legal team aren't going to stay quiet during the hiatus.

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