Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/15/13
Alex Rodriguez decided last summer that he needed a street fighter in his corner to beat his 211-game doping suspension. When he hired lawyer Joe Tacopina in August he got one. The high-profile defense attorney had to be physically restrained from brawling with another lawyer two weeks ago during his defense of Rodriguez when the steroid-stained slugger’s appeal kicked off in the normally sedate Park Avenue offices of Major League Baseball. According to several sources with knowledge of the altercation Tacopina instigated a confrontation with Julio Ayala one of the Miami attorneys who represent Anthony Bosch the proprietor of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic that was a source of performance-enhancing drugs for more than a dozen big leaguers — and MLB’s chief witness. During the first week of the arbitration the sources say Tacopina launched an aggressive attack on Bosch’s credibility after Bosch authenticated a pile of documents and electronic communications that MLB says reflect the league’s conclusion that Rodriguez acquired banned substances from Bosch over several years. It was during a break in one of those tense sessions that Tacopina and Ayala nearly came to blows. The sources told the Daily News that Tacopina — who was frustrated that Bosch’s testimony had dominated the first three days of the hearing — asked another MLB attorney how long he planned on having baseball’s most important witness on the stand during the break in the testimony on Oct. 2. The attorney the sources said told Tacopina that Bosch’s testimony would take several more hours and might spill over to the next day. “Well I guess we have all of October and by then Mr. Bosch will be in jail” Tacopina replied referring to the fact that Bosch and his now-defunct clinic are being investigated by Florida state authorities and federal law-enforcement officials from the Southern District of Florida. “If he is he is not going alone” Ayala fired back implying that if Bosch goes to prison he is taking Rodriguez with him. Tacopina a former hockey player who holds the Skidmore College record for most penalty minutes in a season then made a derogatory statement about Ayala and “his lying wife” Susy Ribero-Ayala another attorney representing Bosch angering Julio Ayala. Tacopina then “bull-rushed” Ayala who went toe-to-toe with Tacopina in the words of one source. Ayala a former high school football player stood his ground but other attorneys restrained Tacopina before any punches were thrown. Eventually the two men calmed down and the hearing resumed after the break. Tacopina and Ayala both declined to comment on the incident when contacted by The News citing the confidentiality order barring participants in the arbitration hearing from discussing it publicly.
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