Like most baseball writer types, I am not a lawyer. Unlike writers with big time column space, however, I don’t think having a platform from which to write things about baseball makes me an expert on the law or common practices employed by real life attorneys. There are lots of real lawyers out there, though, one of whom actually does double as a great baseball writer. That would be Wendy Thurm, and she has a piece up at Fangraphs on Ryan Braun’s claim that Anthony Bosch served as a consultant to his defense during his appeal of a positive drug test. Her verdict: There are still questions worth asking, but it’s definitely plausible.
More importantly, she addresses why a defense team would consul a “bad guy” like Bosch:
Why Bosch? Why use someone who’d already been linked to banned substances? I don’t know for sure, but it makes sense to me to his lawyers would consult with someone who had experience with a player (Manny Ramirez) who had tested positive and had been given a 50-game suspension. If you’re a lawyer defending a client accused of participating in a drug cartel conspiracy, you want to consult with people who knows how drug cartels work. Sure, there are law enforcement experts that you’ll want to testify for the client, but you also would like to consult with former drug cartel members. It’s entirely possible that Bosch had information from Ramirez’s situation that was useful to Braun’s lawyers in preparing their appeal.
In other words, it’s not so much naive to think that a defense team should only talk to angels, it’s just not really practical. To mount a vigorous defense, you need to know what you’re talking about, and that includes getting information from people who actually do what you’ve been accused of sometimes.
Meanwhile, back in the realm of serious journamalism, Tom Haudricourt thinks this can all be put to be promptly if Braun’s attorneys just do the right thing and throw away their careers/violate Braun’s basic legal rights. Hey, we’ve already established that a collective bargaining contract ceases to carry force of law when it conflicts with baseball writers’ collective sense of outrage, why not toss attorney-client privilege into the garbage as well?