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Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer could subject himself to significant legal liability by testifying at a hearing to consider whether a restraining order against him should remain in force, according to Los Angeles-area family law attorneys.
When a woman accusing Bauer of choking her unconscious and injuring her during sexual encounters obtained a temporary restraining order last week, his representatives said they planned “to refute and defend him against the allegations at this hearing.”
The hearing is scheduled for July 23.
Bauer is on paid administrative leave from the Dodgers, while Major League Baseball and the Pasadena Police Department conduct separate investigations. As its felony sexual assault investigation extends into its seventh week, the Pasadena Police Department has declined to say whether it is looking into any additional accusations.
Bauer has not been arrested or charged. In the event the investigation remains ongoing at the time of the hearing, any testimony Bauer might provide could be used against him in a potential criminal case, said Chloe Wolman, a Los Angeles family law attorney. She said she has advised clients in similar situations not to testify in hearings involving restraining orders.
“It would be malpractice on our part,” she said, “not to ensure that our client was absolutely not going to be prosecuted.”
Though Bauer’s attorneys could “refute and defend him against the allegations” at the hearing, their arguments would not be considered as evidence, veteran family law attorney Lynn Soodik said.
In her request for the restraining order, Bauer’s accuser provided a written statement under penalty of perjury. Soodik said she can be questioned about that statement, or about any of her text messages. If Bauer were to submit a similar written statement, he too could be questioned about it in court.
“The only way anything can come up about what he thought is from him,” Soodik said.
Bauer has the right to ask that the hearing be delayed. Because a request for a restraining order is a civil action, Wolman said, Bauer’s attorneys could use the extra time to depose the woman, in the process buying time to see if the Los Angeles County district attorney decides to charge Bauer.
Bauer also could agree to the restraining order while continuing to dispute the woman’s allegations, Soodik said. In his statement last week, Bauer’s agent Jon Fetterolf said the woman and Bauer “have not corresponded in over a month and have not seen each other in over six weeks.”
Bauer’s representatives did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.