Sides working on K-Rod plea bargain
NEW YORK -- Attorneys and prosecutors continue to work on a plea bargain in the case of New York Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who is charged with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment and criminal contempt.
Rodriguez would not comment Wednesday morning after appearing briefly in Queens Criminal Court. After the hearing, Judge Elisa Koenderman adjourned the case until Dec. 3, mentioning Rodriguez's next court appearance as "a possible disposition or trial date."
But Christopher Booth, Rodriguez's attorney, is confident the case will be disposed of. "This is not going to go to trial," he said Wednesday.
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Booth said he was scheduled to meet with Queens assistant district attorney Scott Kessler late Wednesday morning to continue to work toward a disposition.
When asked about the judge raising the possibility of a trial, Booth dismissed Koenderman's words as "a figure of speech."
"We are trying to dispose of it," the attorney said. "As you can imagine, there are many layers and complications in this case, so there are so many different issues that have to be addressed and we're working very hard to dispose. We want to resolve this case by the next date and we're confident we can do that."
Rodriguez, who entered court around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday dressed in blue jeans and a black and grey suede jacket, was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment after allegedly striking his girlfriend's father, Carlos Pena, outside the family room at Citi Field after an Aug. 11 game. Authorities later added a charge of criminal contempt for sending 56 text messages to Daian Pena, the mother of Rodriguez's twin children, in violation of an order of protection.
On Wednesday, Koenderman noted that the order of protection was still in effect. Barred from his home by that order, Rodriguez reportedly was living with Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels, who now is the subject of scrutiny from the same Queens district attorney over gambling allegations. Booth declined comment when asked if Rodriguez was living with Samuels.
While Rodriguez's legal status remains unresolved, the Mets and Rodriguez settled the closer's grievance with the organization in a deal announced Oct. 19. Rodriguez forfeited the $3.1 million in pay the Mets already had withheld, but the closer was reinstated from the disqualified list and the Mets restored his contract to guaranteed.
Rodriguez is owed $11.5 million in 2011. The closer has a vesting option for 2012, which will kick in at $17.5 million if he finishes 55 games and remains healthy for the final portion of next season.
Rodriguez had finished 55 games five straight years before this past season, when his ability to pitch was cut short by a torn ligament in his right thumb that was suffered in the Aug. 11 incident and required surgery. If the contract does not vest, Rodriguez will receive a $3.5 million buyout, raising the value of next season's deal to $15 million.
Ian Begley and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com contributed to this report.
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