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Giamatti Denies Compromise in Pete Rose Case

June 30, 1989|Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Baseball gave no indication Thursday of its next move in trying to untie Commissioner Bart Giamatti's hands in the Pete Rose case.

Giamatti was in Washington, where he gave a deposition to Rose's lawyers, and denied that a compromise was in the works.

"It wasn't that kind of a meeting," the commissioner said.

Robert Pitcairn Jr., one of Rose's lawyers, said earlier that attorneys for the Cincinnati Reds manager were willing to discuss a possible settlement.

Giamatti, when asked if the deposition session with Rose's lawyers were successful, said, "I don't know. They were useful."

He declined to say more about the meeting, held in the law office of John M. Dowd, who led baseball's investigation into Rose's alleged gambling.

The deposition apparently had to do with a court date next Thursday in Rose's attempt to block Giamatti from holding a hearing or deciding his fate over charges that Rose bet on his team's games.

A state appeals court declined Wednesday to do anything about a temporary restraining order granted Rose by Norbert A. Nadel, Hamilton County Common Pleas judge. The 14-day order prevents Giamatti from summoning Rose to his office or from taking any disciplinary action against the manager.

Baseball's lawyers would not say whether they would try to block Thursday's hearing before Nadel, when Rose will seek to have his protection extended while the merits of the case are argued.

"Nothing today," Rich Levin, Giamatti's spokesman, said in New York when asked if baseball's lawyers have decided on their next move.

While Rose is two for two in state court, testimony developed in baseball's investigation could lead to serious trouble with federal authorities.

The Reds' manager could face a possible jail sentence if the Internal Revenue Service can prove allegations by a former associate that he tried to hide income from his gambling, memorabilia sales and card shows. A federal grand jury in Cincinnati is looking into his taxes.

Hiding large amounts of income usually is treated by federal prosecutors as a serious offense, according to a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago.

"If you have someone who fails to report lots of income over a period of time, there's a good possibility they're going to be prosecuted," said Katherine Goldwasser, a law professor at the University of Cincinnati. "There are a number of different criminal charges that could be brought."

Nadel declined to comment Thursday on reports showing that he has accepted more than $1,600 in past campaign contributions from lawyers in the two firms that represent Rose.

"He's not making any comment at this time," said Nadel's court constable, Kathy O'Mara.

While Rose has managed to block baseball from deciding his case, at least temporarily, the Cincinnati grand jury is investigating to see if he claimed all of his income, including gambling winnings, on his tax returns.

Testimony given to baseball's investigators indicates that Rose accepted cash as payment for card show appearances whenever possible so he wouldn't have to claim the income on his taxes.

And testimony that Rose failed to declare that he was part-owner of a winning Pik-Six ticket from a northern Kentucky race track could result in charges that carry a jail term, if proven.

In addition to possible criminal felony charges, the IRS also could take someone to court in a civil action to get back money it claims it was owed through unpaid taxes, with penalties.

"Let me tell you, the IRS will never leave you alone," Goldwasser said.

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