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Thread: Two legal questions

  1. #1

    Two legal questions

    1. Some people are saying that it's likely DTF chick was paid off to back off pressing charges. I know you can do that (I think) for civil cases, but isn't that obstruction of justice for criminal cases? Meaning, isn't that unlikely in this case?

    2. Assuming I'm wrong about that, and that it IS legal to pay someone to drop criminal charges - can that kind of agreement include a clause that DTF chick will never press civil charges? Would Ben then be home free, legally at least?

    Thanks for any learned comments, here!


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  2. #2
    kaydee
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    Re: Two legal questions

    I'm not sure about all the legalities here, but I think it was up to the DA to decide whether or not to press charges against Ben based upon the results of the investigation, evidence, etc., and not up to the alleged victim. Unless maybe the DA acts based upon the alleged victim's wishes if she had wanted to press charges. Oh I don't know. I'm a nurse, not an attorney.

    Good questions, though. Hopefully, someone will give us the correct answers.

  3. #3
    Hall of Famer DukieBoy's Avatar
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    Re: Two legal questions

    And suppose there was a payoff ... is that fact discoverable for the McNutty civil case ?

    It seems anything Ben says of does about the Georgia case can and will be brought into the McNutty case.
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  4. #4

    Re: Two legal questions

    As I said in another post yesterday, I have no doubt that Big Ben pulled a Kobe on this, which means that he entered into a settlement agreement with the accuser. The settlement would have required the accuser not to affirmatively pursue the charges against Ben, which means that she wouldn't voluntarily give further interviews to the police, she would send the March 17 letter to the DA asking that the matter be dropped, and things like that. This type of settlement is not an obstruction of justice, because if the police or the prosecutor were to subpoena her appearance, like at trial, the settlement agreement could not force her to break the law by refusing to appear. Given the somewhat difficult circumstances of this case, it really made no sense for the DA to pursue charges once he received the March 17 letter. But the DA strongly believes that Ben is guilty of sexual assault.

    There will be no civil suit by the accuser, because she has already been paid by Ben in accordance with the settlement agreement and released her civil claims against him. The settlement agreement will also prohibit either party from any further public comment of any kind with respect to the incident. No more he say, she say. For the die-hards waiting for Ben to come out and blast the accuser you wait in vain because Ben has agreed not to say anything.

    The question about whether the settlement agreement in Ga can become evidence in NV is a really good one. The settlement agreement will have a standard confidentiality provision which prohibits either party from disclosing the terms of the settlement and perhaps even the existence of the settlement. However, there will be an exception for compliance with court orders. So McNaulty's NV attorney will ask Ben for it, he will refuse, and then it will be up to a NV judge to decide whether to require Ben to produce the settlement agreement. This just goes to show that Ben also needs to pay off the NV woman and settle with her, because he just won't be able to start rehabilitating his reputation as long as that hangs out there. It's a shame too, because the NV woman's case looked totally dead until the GA incident.

  5. #5
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    Re: Two legal questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ter1230_4
    As I said in another post yesterday, I have no doubt that Big Ben pulled a Kobe on this, which means that he entered into a settlement agreement with the accuser. The settlement would have required the accuser not to affirmatively pursue the charges against Ben, which means that she wouldn't voluntarily give further interviews to the police, she would send the March 17 letter to the DA asking that the matter be dropped, and things like that. This type of settlement is not an obstruction of justice, because if the police or the prosecutor were to subpoena her appearance, like at trial, the settlement agreement could not force her to break the law by refusing to appear. Given the somewhat difficult circumstances of this case, it really made no sense for the DA to pursue charges once he received the March 17 letter. But the DA strongly believes that Ben is guilty of sexual assault.

    There will be no civil suit by the accuser, because she has already been paid by Ben in accordance with the settlement agreement and released her civil claims against him. The settlement agreement will also prohibit either party from any further public comment of any kind with respect to the incident. No more he say, she say. For the die-hards waiting for Ben to come out and blast the accuser you wait in vain because Ben has agreed not to say anything.

    The question about whether the settlement agreement in Ga can become evidence in NV is a really good one. The settlement agreement will have a standard confidentiality provision which prohibits either party from disclosing the terms of the settlement and perhaps even the existence of the settlement. However, there will be an exception for compliance with court orders. So McNaulty's NV attorney will ask Ben for it, he will refuse, and then it will be up to a NV judge to decide whether to require Ben to produce the settlement agreement. This just goes to show that Ben also needs to pay off the NV woman and settle with her, because he just won't be able to start rehabilitating his reputation as long as that hangs out there. It's a shame too, because the NV woman's case looked totally dead until the GA incident.
    I don't think you can make a payoff in a criminal suit.

  6. #6
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    Re: Two legal questions

    If a witness/victim shuts up due to threats on their life....

    I'm pretty sure one would shut up for a check.

    Time and time again I read about witnesses in Philly changing their story due to threats of violence or actual violence. No reason why a fat check wouldn't stop a girl from going forward or acting fuzzy when questioned by police.

  7. #7

    Re: Two legal questions

    Our resident criminal attorney stated payoffs happen all the time to make this stuff go away. He never addressed the legality of said payoff.

  8. #8

    Re: Two legal questions

    There is absolutely nothing illegal about settling with the accuser like Ben did. The accuser is not required to voluntarily cooperate with the DA, but if the DA were to have brought criminal charges anyway she would have been required to testify. The DA in this matter really couldn't bring charges against Ben once he received the March 17 letter from the accuser's attorney, which requested that charges not be brought so that she wouldn't have to go through the stress of testifying and she could start the healing process. As soon as I saw the March 17 letter I knew Ben had settled with her. I'm also pretty sure that Ben's attornsy either helped draft the March 17 letter or approved it as to form.

    I think Ben really messed up here, and he is lucky that he (and the accuser) had good lawyers who realized that it was absolutely essential that formal charges not be brought. In the event that charges had been brought, the DA would have been much less likely to back down even if Ben subsequently settled with the accuser, leaving two basic possible scenarios. First, Ben would have been suspended indefinitely by the Commissioner, because there is no way that they would have let him play with a rape charge pending. Since it usually takes a year or so to go to trial, that would have been the end of the 2010 season for Ben. If he went to trial and lost, he would have received a lengthy prison term, which would have ended his career for all intents and purposes. His only alternative would have been to try and negotiate the best deal possible with the DA, but it is hard to imagine the DA agreeing to a plea that didn't involve at least some prison time, which probably would have meant that Ben would miss a couple of seasons (ala Mike Vick). The accuser's lawyers recognized that their settlement leverage was strongest before charges were brought, so a deal was struck.

    I also think that Ben is going to get a 4 game suspension, because the Commissioner and the Rooneys think he was guilty. In fact, I am a little worried that he is more likely to get an 8 game suspension rather a 2 game suspension, partly because the NFL seems to like to stick it to the Steelers (see loss of 3rd round draft pick in 2001 draftfor alleged cap violation with Wil Wolford). I think it's partly to show the world that the Steelers may be influential but they don't get special treatment, and partly because the Steelers are such good citizens they will just take it unlike some others. But an 8 game suspension would pretty much wreck the season, so hopefully they won't go there.


    But it's not all doom and gloom. I think that a lot of teams tend to get tougher in the face of adversity, and the Steelers in particular do much better when all around them are naysayers. They don't seem to thrive when everyone picks them to win. And I'm really looking forward to seeing Dennis Dixon get a chance to play. As for Ben, I am willing to give him a second chance, but I think he needs to get some serious help.

  9. #9
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Re: Two legal questions

    Quote Originally Posted by kaydee
    I'm not sure about all the legalities here, but I think it was up to the DA to decide whether or not to press charges against Ben based upon the results of the investigation, evidence, etc., and not up to the alleged victim. Unless maybe the DA acts based upon the alleged victim's wishes if she had wanted to press charges. Oh I don't know. I'm a nurse, not an attorney.

    Good questions, though. Hopefully, someone will give us the correct answers.


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