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Doubtful About 'Truthful' Reference : Giamatti 'Puzzled' by Part of Rose Letter

June 27, 1989|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti says he is "puzzled" by part of a letter he signed and sent to a federal judge on behalf of Ron Peters, Pete Rose's alleged bookmaker, but does not regret sending the letter.

Ohio Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel agreed with Rose's lawyers that Giamatti has already made up his mind that Rose is guilty of betting on baseball, and on Sunday the judge granted a temporary restraining order delaying for two weeks a scheduled hearing before Giamatti on the gambling allegations. The judge said Giamatti's letter--a recommendation sent to a federal judge as part of the sentencing of Peters--is at the heart of Rose's case.

The letter praises Peters for being "candid, forthright and truthful" with John Dowd, the investigator for baseball who found evidence that Rose bet on Reds games and other baseball games in 1985, 1986 and 1987.

Giamatti told the Boston Globe in today's editions that he does not regret sending the letter.

"No, my regret about the letter is the selective way in which people want to read it. My letter said very clearly three times that I'm in effect transmitting the view of my special counsel," Giamatti said.

". . . I believed myself to be enacting a routine chore of the administerial kind that clearly had nothing to do with my view of Mr. Rose."

Giamatti admitted to the Globe that he was puzzled by the word truthful in the letter.

"I was a little puzzled by that, but I didn't focus on it, frankly, because--I don't want to say I wasn't paying attention--but I do want to say I looked upon it as kind of a routine, standard thing. I was more concerned to make sure it didn't go out and ask for leniency, and it didn't," Giamatti said.

When asked by the Globe if he should have focused on the wording more carefully, Giamatti said:

"I suppose so. Frankly, I still read this letter as being, when you see truthful, I think you see special counsel right after it. If that was John Dowd's view, it was all right with me. I'm not obliged to accept all of John Dowd's views or any of his views. A man does an investigation and he hands me a report. I have a hearing and I make a judgment. And that's what's supposed to happen."

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