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Rice’s lawyer says a lot about the case, hypothetically


Setting aside (for now) the P.R. debacle that unfolded at Ravens headquarters on Friday and that possibly was exacerbated by his lawyer’s decision to give a radio interview on Saturday, attorney Michael Diamondstein shed plenty of light -- hypothetically -- on the events that transpired between running back Ray Rice and his fianceé (now wife), Janay, at a casino.

“This is just a complete hypothetical,” Diamondstein told Matt Hammond of ESPN 97.3 FM in New Jersey. “Let’s assume for the sake of argument, rather than enter into the pretrial diversionary program that [Rice] entered into, we hypothetically move forward on the case. And hypothetically we litigate 100 motions and the video comes out and the video shows -- hypothetically speaking now, hypothetically speaking -- shows that Ray wasn’t the first person that hit and Ray was getting repeatedly hit but just Ray hit harder, fired one back and hit harder. Hypothetically speaking, and he gets found not guilty. Is that result somehow better? Is it better for the public? Is it better for the Ravens? Is it better for Ray? Is it better for Janay?”

It’s obvious that Diamondstein wasn’t speaking in hypotheticals. He was sending a message while repeatedly using the word that allows lawyers and others to cover their butts. It allowed Diamondstein to say what happened without actually saying anything, technically.

What he said -- “hypothetically” -- is that Janay Rice threw the first punch. That she threw multiple punches. That she threw punches until Ray decided he was going to throw one back. And all it took was one.

Diamondstein seems to think that this hypothetical would be enough to secure an acquittal. It’s hard to imagine any jury finding that Rice acted reasonably to defend himself against Janay’s punches by knocking her out. He’s a pro athlete who should be able to fend off a much weaker female without punching her in the face or head.

The lawyer also implied strongly that, as previously reported elsewhere, video of the punch from Rice exists. If the case had been litigated, the video would have eventually been made public. With the video of Rice dragging a mostly-unconscious Janay out of an elevator doing major damage to Rice’s reputation, video of Rice throwing a knockout blow to a woman possibly would have killed it.

It’s now clear that Rice opted to enter into the diversionary program both to prevent the video from ever coming out (there’s a chance it still will) and to avoid having to embarrass Janay by highlighting her own behavior in the hopes of excusing his.

“I don’t think the fact that he entered into a pre-trial diversionary person should be something that anybody looks negatively at,” Diamondstein said.

The NFL definitely will. And the NFL presumably will demand to see the video before deciding on the extent of Rice’s suspension. His ultimate punishment could depend largely on the initial reaction of Commissioner Roger Goodell to the visual evidence.