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Q&A: Why was Trevor Bauer listed as a victim in a fraud case unrelated to MLB suspension?

Trevor Bauer throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants.
Trevor Bauer throws a pitch for the Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants during the a game on May 21, 2021.
(D. Ross Cameron / Associated Press)
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Trevor Bauer was back in the news this week. He posted a video in which he gave a short address that started this way: “One of the women who accused me of sexual assault just got indicted for committing felony fraud against me. Imagine that.”

Bauer, a former Dodgers pitcher, has not pitched in the major leagues since 2021. Four women accused him of sexual assault; he denied all their claims and alleged each of the women had turned consensual sexual encounters into an opportunity for extortion.

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So what exactly happened this week?

In 2022, an Arizona woman named Darcy Adanna Esemonu filed a lawsuit against Bauer, alleging sexual assault. Bauer countersued, claiming fraud and extortion — in particular, that she claimed he had gotten her pregnant and demanded millions. According to court filings, Esemonu never had the baby; Bauer said that was because she never was pregnant and Esemonu said that was because she miscarried.

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Former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer wants to play again in the majors. Here’s a transcript of his case to MLB owners.

Feb. 22, 2024

Esemonu was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury in March. The indictment, made public this week, charges Esemonu with two felony counts, one for fraud and one for theft by extortion. Only the count for fraud involves Bauer.

The basis for the charges has not been made public. Esemonu is scheduled to be arraigned next week.

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What did Bauer say?

“Outside of Adanna — who has now been indicted with felony fraud — there are no claims against me, no ongoing investigations, and no outstanding lawsuits. At this point, I’m not sure what else I can possibly do to prove my innocence in all of this

“I did not do what I was accused of, and every institution that our society has entrusted to rule on issues like these, like courts, judges, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, etc. … they all agree with me.”

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Do all these authorities agree with him?

Trevor Bauer stands on the mound during a game between the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.
Trevor Bauer stands on the mound during a game between the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies in April 2021.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

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Bauer has not been charged with a crime, or even arrested on suspicion of one, despite four women making similar allegations against him. Esemonu was charged with fraud, and Hill was denied a permanent restraining order.

However, when Hill subsequently filed a civil suit against Bauer for battery and sexual assault, Bauer’s attorneys asked that the suit be thrown out, arguing Bauer necessarily had been cleared on that score because the restraining order had been denied.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna disagreed. He said the judge considering the restraining order made no ruling as to whether battery or sexual assault had occurred, and he further said neither Bauer nor Hill had asked the judge to make such a ruling. The restraining order proceedings, Selna ruled, “did not necessarily decide that Bauer did not batter or sexually assault Hill.”

The Dodgers are releasing Trevor Bauer and designating him for assignment, giving them up to seven days to trade the pitcher.

Jan. 6, 2023

Bauer and Hill eventually settled, so the case did not go to trial.

(Bauer and his attorneys were aghast at Selna’s decision, in part because the judge considering the restraining order said, “She [Hill] set limits without fully considering all the consequences and [Bauer] did not exceed the limits.”)

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Did any other body investigate the allegations against Bauer?

Yes. Major League Baseball did. The MLB commissioner is empowered to suspend a player for violating the league’s policy on domestic violence and sexual assault, even if the player has not been charged with a crime.

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Of the 17 players suspended under the policy, Bauer is the first with multiple accusers. Bauer was suspended for two years, or 324 games. An independent arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games, still the longest under the policy.

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Was MLB aware of Esemonu’s allegations?

Yes.

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Did the league take Esemonu’s allegations into account in determining Bauer’s suspension, or count her as one of the multiple accusers?

No, and no.

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Why did the league say Bauer had violated its policy?

Trevor Bauer pitches for the Mexico City Red Devils during an exhibition game against the New York Yankees last month.
(Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

The league hasn’t said, and neither has Bauer, both sides citing the confidentiality of the policy. The arbitration proceedings — essentially, Bauer’s appeal hearing — lasted for months.

“I’d love to go into it,” Bauer told The Times in February. “But, if I go into it, I could be suspended again, and that would guarantee that I’d never play again.”

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Is Bauer eligible to sign with a major league team?

Yes, and he has been since the Dodgers released him 15 months ago. The Dodgers released him two weeks after his suspension expired.

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“At what point do I get to go back to work and continue earning a living?” Bauer said on his video this week.

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What would Bauer say to the owner of a major league team that might consider signing him?

We asked him about that in February. Here’s what he said.

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If no major league team signs him, what can he do?

He could sue MLB. To this point, he has expressed no interest in doing so, since he would prefer to play in the league rather than sue it.

The former Dodgers pitcher hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2021 after MLB determined he violated its domestic violence policy. He made his case for reinstatement to a Times reporter.

Feb. 22, 2024

In Hill’s civil suit against him, Bauer said he was precluded from sharing information from the league’s investigation against him, citing the confidentiality of the policy.

However, if Bauer sued the league itself, he would almost certainly have to share that information to show how he believed the league wronged him. Under the policy, the league cannot disclose confidential information but can publicly respond to the release of such information.

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Has Bauer pitched anywhere since the Dodgers released him?

Yes. He pitched for the Yokohama BayStars in Japan last year, and he currently is pitching for the Mexico City Red Devils.

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