Major League Baseball takes aim at whistleblower

 

jbrown@MiamiHerald.com

Just days after suspending 13 players in one of the biggest doping scandals in the sport’s history, Major League Baseball is now going after the whistleblower who leaked records linking the players to the South Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of the league’s case.

Porter Fischer, the Pinecrest man and ex-marketing director for Biogenesis, was ordered before a Miami-Dade Circuit judge Thursday on an emergency motion by MLB lawyers who wanted the judge to hold him in contempt for failing to turn over all the records he has connected to the clinic’s clients and operations, including emails, diaries, files and logs. MLB wants the records as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit against the clinic’s owner and others they allege conspired to provide their players with banned substances in violation of MLB rules.

Fischer, 49, who works part-time, says he has no attorney and said he has no money to hire one. He pleaded with Judge Ronald Dresnick to give him time to replace his former attorney, who removed himself from the case last week.

“Judge, all I’m asking is for some time to get an attorney. I don’t feel comfortable answering questions here,’’ said Fischer, who represented himself in court.

“I don’t quite feel that badly for you because that subpoena was served quite some time ago,’’ Dresnick said.

Fischer, however, contended that his former lawyer, Raymond Rafool, had filed paperwork to quash the subpoena and a hearing was set for mid August to hear that motion. Fischer said he did not understand what the emergency is now, since MLB has already suspended its players.

Dresnick, however, was unswayed by Fischer’s pleas and permitted MLB lawyer Adriana Riviere to question Fischer about emails and other correspondence he has had with various Biogenesis contacts, as well as with a reporter with Miami New Times, which broke the story in late January.

“I don’t know how many times I have to ask for an attorney,’’ Fischer pleaded again, telling the judge that he was refusing to answer any further questions and was prepared to be held in contempt and thrown in jail.

“I have someone ready to take care of my dog tonight,’’ Fischer said.

Dresnick explained to Fischer that MLB attorneys were rightly concerned that Fischer may destroy the records, or that those records could otherwise “disappear.’’

“Your honor, we know that’s not why they are doing this,” Fischer said, explaining that MLB attorneys ordered him into court on the same day that the Miami Herald wrote a story announcing that federal prosecutors intended to interview Fischer about the illegal sale and distribution of narcotics by the clinic’s founder, Anthony Bosch.

Bosch, who gave the impression he was a licensed doctor but wasn’t, worked with MLB investigators to help them build their case against Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension, and the 12 other players, who are serving 50-game suspensions each.

As part of Bosch’s deal with MLB, baseball officials have agreed to help defray Bosch’s legal bills and help mitigate any subsequent criminal charges. Initially, MLB also offered Fischer a deal to help them as well, but Fischer refused $125,000. He said he wanted to turn his evidence over to law enforcement, not to Major League Baseball.

Now baseball may end up with the evidence anyway, if its legal effort is successful.

Dresnick gave Fischer until Wednesday to come up with a lawyer.

“I guess I will have to start looking through Craig’s List,’’ Fischer said.

Read more Inside Baseball stories from the Miami Herald

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