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Lawyer says he investigated different Roethlisberger incident

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  April 13, 2010 11:28 AM

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ben-roethlisberger-red.jpgHarry Manion, a Boston attorney who occasionally speaks on legal matters on sports radio WEEI, revealed during an interview with "The Dennis and Callahan Show" this morning that he was recently involved in an investigation of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger unrelated to a recent incident at a Georgia nightclub.

Roethlisberger, who learned yesterday that he won't be prosecuted in connection with a sexual assault complaint filed March 5 by a 20-year-old female college student in Milledgeville, Ga, faces a possible suspension from the NFL. He will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today in New York.

According to Manion, he was retained by a client six months ago to investigate similar allegations against the 28-year-old Steelers quarterback regarding an incident in a Las Vegas nightclub.

"[The allegations] were absolutely identical to this Georgia girl's story," said Manion. "The outcome was that the young woman did not want to proceed, and we did not take any action. There is a history here -- and I can't say any further because we never proceeded with it -- but there is a history here that is just super troubling."

Manion said Roethlisberger, who is being sued by a woman who alleges he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel and casino (he denies the allegation and has filed counterclaims), clearly needs a wake-up call.

"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 in 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. T

"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 . . . "

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Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com has an interesting take on Manion's commentts. Florio, a labor lawyer in West Virginia who no longer practices with PFT.com now his full-time job, wonders if "Manion has placed himself at risk for a defamation claim."

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Update, 3:44 p.m. A public relations contact at Manion's law firm, Cooley Manion Jones LLP, just e-mailed the following press release:

Mr. Manion has no comments to add to those he made on the Dennis & Callahan radio show this morning regarding his brief involvement in a matter concerning Mr. Roethlisberger, which he disclosed prior to providing his legal analysis of the Georgia investigation as a legal commentator for WEEI, except to clarify by saying that the only similarities between the two situations of which Mr. Manion is aware is that they both involve a young woman and a nightclub. Mr. Manion did not mean to express or imply that he has any information that Mr. Roethlisberger engaged in any illegal behavior. All other information, apart from Mr. Manion being retained, is confidential.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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