Monthly Archives: May 2010

HARD TO BELIEVE LEBRON RETURNS TO CLEVELAND AFTER THAT DEBACLE

                                                                                       Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

It sure seemed like Lebron James would return to Cleveland virtually all year. A legit shot to make the NBA Finals, maybe win it all, would make Lebron want to make his mark in one town, not too far from his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Plus, Lebron just a little over a year ago apparently built his $10 million “dream” house just 45 minutes from where the Cavaliers play their home games.

While these top guys make sick money, one could certainly infer that you’re not going to spend $10 million and leave town in 18 months.

But, hey, you never know.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO A TITLE

The Cavaliers seemed to have left the building, at least in their final two losses in their six game series loss at the hands of the (no longer?) aging Celtics. With the emergence of Rajon Rondo as a legitimate star at the point, the Celtics are no longer just the “Big Three.” Indeed, he’s the young “Pied Piper” that is now the glue of the Celtics. That’s not enough, in this writer’s opinion, to get by Orlando.

But it was probably enough to make Lebron get out of town. There was a disconnect with the Cavaliers, between the coaches and the team, between Lebron and his teammates and even, at times, between Lebron and himself. Was he the aggressive Lebron? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Was he the dominating Lebron? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Despite his great statistical triple-double in Game 6, was it the great Lebron or the turnover-plagued (nine of them) Lebron? Well, it was both.

Despite his greatness, Lebron needed help and, other than Mo Williams in the first half (20 points – plus two in the second half), there was no help.

Lebron has to be thinking of that when he thinks about the future.

THE CAVALIERS ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY

Maybe history will show that the Cavaliers peaked in 2007 when they made the Finals but were swept by the Spurs. The next year they lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In 2009, they lost to the up and coming Magic in six in the Eastern Conference Finals. And, of course, they didn’t get that far in 2010, losing in the Eastern Conference semi-finals for the second time in three ears.

That’s called a reverse trend or going the wrong way if you’re keeping score at home. No matter what this team would be projected to do next year with Lebron in the regular season, you can’t project them to win a title off of these last two playoff performances.

Any notion that he would come back (with or without coach Mike Brown who, if he is really not liked by Lebron as reported, will not be there for long), seemed to go out the window in the final minute or so when the Cavaliers wouldn’t even foul to stop the clock and take that one in a 100 shot of getting back in the game. I wouldn’t call that quitting (as some have), but I would be worried about my superstar’s reaction to what certainly looked like not trying to win at the end.

IS DWYANE WADE THE KEY?

An interesting question. Wade has a title. Lebron has nothing like it. If these two team up, anything is possible. Could they co-exist? Are they really good friends? Do their games mesh? Can they get the supporting cast?

Lebron, at a minimum, owes it to himself to have a conversation with Wade. Does Lebron want to be Batman? Will Wade be Robin? Will they need two balls? Great questions all, but the quickest way to the Promised Land for Lebron James would be to team up with Wade.

BUT WHERE?

New York is certainly a possibility. But they have no center and they have no point guard. What they do have, of course, is Madison Square Garden. And even though the luster has been off the Garden for a long time, it’s still the best place to play and, of course, New York is the best city to play in.

Chicago is the latest “hot” Lebron city. With Derrick Rose at the point, that’s a big plus. But why would Lebron really want to go there? He’s not winning six and anything less would put him below Michael Jordan. And, remember, Jordan won nothing without Pippen. And they also had a guy named Dennis Rodman who, whatever you thought of him, was one of the greatest rebounders of all time.

The Nets are the dark horse here, the longshot with a real chance, in this writer’s opinion. If they really are moving to Brooklyn, Lebron could tip the balance of power in New York and In the NBA. With a stellar guard in Devin Harris and a real center in Brook Lopez and (maybe) with John Wall on the horizon, that could be a real opportunity.

Throw in the fact that Lebron could (almost?) pick his coach and Jay Z will help make him the (athletic?) King of New York, the Nets, as funny as it is to write, could actually be a better choice than either of the “leaders,” including the incumbent Cavaliers.

Lebron has a tough choice to make with or without Wade. But it says here that the early favorite (Cleveland) took the status of longshot after their debacle against the Celtics.

© Copyright 2010 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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Steve Kallas on WFAN with Steve Somers (5/6/10)

Steve Somers talks with New York City Attorney Steve Kallas. Kallas gives his expertise on the Lawrence Taylor case.

LAWRENCE TAYLOR IN BIG TROUBLE

                                                                                       Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Hall of Fame Giant Lawrence Taylor was arrested and charged with rape in the third degree and patronizing a prostitute in Ramapo, New York on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Yes, there was a media circus. Yes, there was a celebrity front and center in the case. Yes, the case of People of the State of New York v. Lawrence Taylor has garnered and will garner lots of attention and lots of publicity.

But how much trouble is Lawrence Taylor really in? It says here that, if the facts are as alleged, Lawrence Taylor is in plenty of trouble.

You know the presumption of innocence – you are innocent until proven guilty. While that’s how our judicial system is supposed to work, sometimes it doesn’t. And, in the court of public opinion or in the world of sports talk radio, often times it’s the other way around. Let’s look at what’s been alleged against Taylor by the prosecution and what his lawyer, New York City attorney Arthur Aidala, had to say about the allegations.

THE ALLEGATIONS

It is alleged by the victim (only identified by her initials C.F., as she is a minor) that she went to room 160 of a Holiday Inn in Suffern, New York and, for $300 that was paid to her by LT, had sex with him. One of the most damning things against Taylor, in this writer/attorney’s opinion, is the fact that, on two occasions during LT’s arraignment, Judge Arnold Edelson, the Town Judge of Ramapo, New York, stated, according to a police affidavit submitted to the court, that Taylor admitted to the police that he had given the girl $300. While defense attorney Aidala said in court that this specific statement would be litigated, the reality is that if both the girl and the cop (from Taylor’s admission) say LT gave the girl $300, it may not matter to a jury that LT later says he didn’t do it.

And that’s a big problem for LT.

In addition, TMZ has reported a used condom was taken from the room. Plus, it’s been reported that a bottle of alcohol and bed sheets, among other things, were taken from the room. DNA evidence is being looked at by the prosecution, another bad sign for LT.

This is going to be more, evidence-wise, than a he said/ she said.

WHAT ABOUT LT’S CELEBRITY?

Well, defense attorney Aidala, on WFAN with Mike Francesa on Friday, seemed to view Taylor’s celebrity as the reason this case is being brought. He essentially said that, if this was not LT and was just a regular citizen, there would be no case.

Not so, says former Bronx Assistant District Attorney Joe Heinzmann: “When someone solicits a prostitute, it is generally true that the police and/or the District Attorney’s office are more interested in prosecuting the pimp rather than the john. But in this situation, where you have an underage girl and a rape charge, there is no prosecutor in New York worth his or her salt who would allow the john to get away scot-free. The notion that he would not be charged, which is what Taylor’s attorney stated, is ridiculous, whether the john is Lawrence Taylor or Lawrence Smith.”

DID TAYLOR ADMIT TO THE POLICE THAT HE HAD SEX WITH THIS GIRL?

While at his arraignment on Thursday, Taylor, according to Judge Edelson, admitted to police that he paid the girl $300 cash, it got much worse for him on Friday. A federal, criminal complaint filed against Rasheed Davis, the alleged pimp, in Manhattan, states that Taylor told the cops that he “met with a female,” and, after “engaging in sex acts,” Lawrence Taylor paid her “$300 in cash.”

Obviously, this is getting very bad, very quickly for Lawrence Taylor.

WHAT’S THE LAW?

Well, the law is pretty clear: Section 130.25 of the New York Penal Law, subsection (2) states: “A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when: (2) being twenty-one years old or more, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old.”

This is a strict liability crime, that is, it is irrelevant, for purposes of being convicted, that Taylor thought she was older or that she looked older or even (as is alleged) that she told him that she was 19. While those factors may help at sentencing, they are no defense to the actual crime.

HOW OLD IS THE GIRL?

An interesting question. The best way for this rape charge to go away would be if the girl is seventeen or over. According to the federal complaint in the sex-trafficking charge against Rasheed Davis, LT asked for a “skinny Spanish girl.” If the victim is from a foreign country, maybe her birth records are suspect or altered or non-existent. While one would have to think that the prosecutors have checked this out, you can be sure that investigators for the defense are doing the same thing now. Remember, the prosecutor has to prove that this girl was underage.

If it is ever shown that she is not underage, the rape charge would be dismissed and Taylor would be more like the “average” john, that is, he would just have to deal with the misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute.

ARE THER OTHER CRIMES INVOLVED?

An interesting question, as well. Some have incorrectly stated that, whether the sex was actual intercourse or some kind of oral sex, the rape charge would still stand.

Not so, says Attorney Joe Heinzmann: “Sexual intercourse and oral sex are defined differently by the New York Penal Code. There would be a different statute, not the rape statute, that would cover oral sex, for example. That statute is New York Penal Law section 130.40 (2), Criminal sexual act in the third degree. While this is also a Class E felony, which has a penalty, like rape in the third degree, of up to four years in prison, it is a totally different crime than rape in the third degree.”

Since Taylor has already admitted to the police that he “engaged in sex acts” and even his attorney has stated that “there was some kind of contact” in that hotel room, LT is in a ton of trouble – and it looks like a huge problem for him at the end of the day.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Well, the prosecutor up in Ramapo asked for a one-month felony investigation and plans to present the case against Taylor to a grand jury within that time frame. It seems almost a foregone conclusion that Lawrence Taylor will be indicted for rape in the third degree and/or a criminal sexual act in the third degree, as well as patronizing a prostitute and, possibly, other crimes.

While it’s very early in the process, and LT is innocent until proven guilty, this does not look like it will have a happy ending for one of the greatest football players of all-time. His next court date in Ramapo, New York is presently scheduled for June 10, 2010.

© Copyright 2010 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.