So with the possibility of a Georgia prosecution official gone and only a civil lawsuit in Nevada remaining, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can exhale and focus only on playing football and not barhopping, right?
Boston lawyer Harry Manion told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show on Tuesday that Manion was involved in an investigation regarding another Big Ben incident.
Said Manion: “[T]here is a history here this is just super troubling.”
Manion specifically referred to an incident from 2009, also in Nevada. “Six months ago I was retained by a client of mine and a close friend to
investigate allegations against Ben Roethlisberger in a Las Vegas
nightclub that were absolutely identical to this Georgia girl’s story,” Manion said.
Manion believes that, if Roethlisberger ever is going to change his ways, the near miss in Georgia will be the impetus.
“Unless he’s totally brain dead — and we don’t know — he would be
scared,” Manion said. “Because he has really walked a perilous line
here. There’s a whole litany here, not only my experience, I have
connected with several other people that have experience. And you know,
there’s only so far that he said/she said will get you. There’s only
so far that paying hush money will get you, if hush money is paid. And
there’s only so far that, ‘Gee, we’re celebrities, we have a target on
our back,’ will get you. When you see this much smoke, month after
month and continuously . . . . It’s the scene that he’s gotten himself caught up
with, and the belief that he can walk, and so far, so good. But it’s
hurting him. He’s hurt. He has been damaged. And the next one, the wrath
of God’s going to come down on him, if there is a next one.”
It’s compelling stuff, and we agree with Manion’s take. That said, the guy has a set of large brass ones to talk about allegations that never were pursued in criminal or civil court. A certain degree of immunity applies to statement made in conjunction with official legal proceedings. Manion has placed himself at risk for a defamation claim, especially by suggesting that there are incidents beyond the Vegas case that he personally handled.
Then again, the primary injury in a defamation case occurs to the reputation of the plaintiff. Like Pacman Jones threatening to sue ESPN in early 2009 after the network released more information about an alleged Atlanta strip club shooting from 2007, Jones would be able to prove no damage to the manner in which any potential untruths harmed his reputation because his reputation already was horrendous.
Ben faces the same challenge. Suing Manion or anyone else who claims that he has a more extensive history of Milledgeville-style encounters would expose Roethlisberger’s entire sexual history and his broader reputation to scrutiny. As Roger Clemens has learned the hard way, nothing good comes from that approach — especially if hanging in the closet next the devil-face T-shirt is a collection of skeletons.