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Rose Case Site Debated : No Reason to Switch, His Lawyers Argue

Times Staff Writer

Seeking the home court advantage, attorneys for Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose asked a federal judge in Columbus, Ohio, Monday to return Rose’s suit against baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti to a state court because allegations of local bias were not grounds for a move to the federal system.

In a brief filed in the U.S. District Court of Judge John Holschuh, the attorneys argued that baseball’s “irrelevant ramblings about some supposed federal interest” did not provide a basis for moving the case to federal court and accused baseball of making “thinly veiled attacks on Ohio’s state courts.”

There was no indication when Holschuh will rule as to whether the state or federal system has jurisdiction over Rose’s attempt to seek a preliminary injunction preventing Giamatti from conducting a hearing that could result in Rose’s suspension from baseball if it is determined he bet on the Reds, as alleged by baseball’s special investigator, John Dowd, in his report to Giamatti.

That hearing was originally scheduled June 26, but on June 25 Rose received a temporary restraining order against Giamatti from Judge Norbert A. Nadel of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati. Nadel supported Rose’s contention that Giamatti has prejudged the case against Rose.

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Nadel was scheduled to hear Rose’s bid for a preliminary injunction July 6, but on July 3 the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, responding to a motion by Giamatti’s attorneys to move the case to federal court, assigned the motion to Holschuh’s court in Columbus and wrote that because of Rose’s national reputation and identification with the Reds and Cincinnati, it appeared advisable to transfer the request to another city.

Rose, in turn, filed a motion with Holschuh asking that the case be returned to the state court, prompting Holschuh to set a July 12 deadline for receiving baseball’s arguments on the subject and July 17 for receiving Rose’s. At the same time, he extended Rose’s protection against suspension and firing, as enacted by Nadel, until he makes a decision.

Giamatti, according to his staff, wants the case in federal court for two basic reasons.

--The federal courts have always upheld the commissioner’s authority.

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--A state judge in Rose’s hometown of Cincinnati, facing reelection as Nadel is, could be influenced to make a parochial decision. Federal judges are appointed.

“If ever it were appropriate to remove a case to the federal court to avoid such local pressures, this is the case,” attorneys for Giamatti wrote in a 110-page brief filed with Holschuh last Wednesday.

They also wrote that the federal court has jurisdiction on the grounds of diversity of citizenship, Rose being a resident of Ohio and Giamatti of New York. However, Rose’s suit also names the Reds.

“Under governing law, all doubts must be resolved in remanding this case to state court,” Rose’s attorneys said in the brief filed Monday.

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It is possible, according to legal experts, that Holschuh will schedule a hearing with the two sides before making a decision.

The losing side is expected to appeal, further delaying a process that began in late March with the announcement that Rose was being investigated for alleged gambling activity.

“I think people are sick of this. I know I am,” Red owner Marge Schott told the Associated Press Monday.

Schott was recently hospitalized for tests relating to an undisclosed ailment that stemmed, she said, from job-related stress. In addition to the allegations and legal problems surrounding Rose, the Reds have been decimated by injuries and lost 23 of their last 33 games.

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“These are tough times,” she said. “It’s been a very difficult thing for me, you know.”

Meanwhile, Ron Peters, identified by federal authorities and investigator Dowd as the bookmaker who handled Rose’s bets, entered a federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday to begin a two-year sentence on federal charges of cocaine distribution and making false statements on his 1985 income tax. Peters could have received a 23-year sentence, but federal authorities requested a reduced term because Peters had cooperated with a federal grand jury investigation of Rose’s taxes.

“Seeing your face in the paper every day and on the news--I’m sure it’s going to be awhile before my face gets in the paper again--just to get away from all that for a while will be nice,” Peters said as he prepared to enter the prison camp.


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