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Trevor Bauer was subject of 2020 protection order, remains on leave amid separate probe

Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Trevor Bauer, who is currently on administrative leave amid an investigation over alleged sexual assault in California, was the subject of a temporary restraining order filed by a different woman in Ohio last year.

The woman sought the order in June 2020, roughly a year after her on-and-off relationship with Bauer ended, according to Bauer’s representatives. That was the same year in which Bauer won the prestigious Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher. At the time, Bauer was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. Bauer then signed a three-year, $102 million deal with the Dodgers this past February that includes $40 million in 2021, the highest single-season salary in Major League Baseball history.

News of the protection order filed in Ohio was first reported by the Washington Post, based on sealed court records the newspaper was able to obtain, alongside allegations that the Ohio woman suffered bruises on her face after Bauer punched and choked her during sex without consent, her attorney told the news outlet.

Joe Darwal, the woman’s current attorney, told NBC News in an email that his “client had no interest in coming forward about her experience as she feared the possible consequences of doing so.” But once the Washington Post “reached out for comment regarding documents they received from third parties, she was left with no other choice but to come forward and confirm the documents they received.”

“The MLB should be applauded for their handling of this investigation,” Darwal said. “Although they could not have known of our client’s story prior to the tragic events in California, their approach is both thorough and respectful. Our client is currently assisting the MLB in this investigation; however, as the process is ongoing I cannot comment further at this time.”

Darwal is not the same lawyer who helped the woman file for a restraining order against Bauer last year. Timothy Hess, the woman’s former attorney, filed for the order of protection on her behalf.

The former attorney did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment, but he told the Washington Post that the woman sought the order after Bauer allegedly threaten to disseminate a video of them having sex to a member of the woman’s family. The order was the result of an “ex parte” proceeding, temporarily granted by a Cuyahoga County judge without hearing from the opposing side, the Washington Post reported.

In a statement to NBC News, Bauer said he has been the victim of a “pattern of disturbing behavior by this woman and her attorneys,” adding that the “baseless allegations” reported on the Washington Post came from “a woman who has not only harassed and physically assaulted me but who also attempted to extort me for millions of dollars last year in exchange for her not coming forward with false claims.”

“This is a continuation by the woman and her attorneys to make good on their threats to harm me by perpetuating a false narrative. This has been a game to her from the beginning but my life is not a game and I won’t stand by idly and allow this conduct to continue,” Bauer said.

Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba, Bauer’s representatives, told NBC News in an email that the MLB player had an “on-and-off wholly consensual relationship” with the woman from 2016 to 2019.

Despite multiple requests by Bauer to cease all contact and end their causal relationship after he left Ohio, the woman “persisted in proactively contacting” Bauer in an attempt to continue a relationship, Fetterolf and Luba said. The woman then resorted to threats and “filed a bogus protection petition as a ruse to demand millions of dollars” after Bauer refused to continue a relationship with her, according to the representatives.

According to Fetterolf and Luba, the woman withdrew her protection order petition after Bauer, through counsel, “refused her demands, and informed her that her conduct was nothing short of extortion.” She also went on to find new counsel and threatened a lawsuit, Fetterolf and Luba said.

The Washington Post reported that court records and legal correspondence show that the “Ohio woman dismissed the protection order six weeks later, after Bauer’s attorneys threatened legal action.” She then drafted a civil suit that was never filed, the newspaper reported.

“What started out as our client’s attempt to protect herself — first by filing a protective order — turned into months of additional fear, stress and continuous threats. Ultimately, our client made the decision that moving forward with any legal action was not worth the potential public shaming and baseless lawsuits threatened by Bauer’s team. She never wanted any of this public,” Kendra Barkoff Lamy, a spokesperson for the woman, and Darwal told the Washington Post in a statement.

The Ohio woman’s allegations are now posing a new test for the MLB organization, which is currently investigating Bauer over disturbing sexual assault allegations from a woman in California.

The 27-year-old California woman provided graphic details and photos of her alleged encounters with Bauer in a request for a domestic violence restraining order filed last month.

In the temporary order request filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, the woman said she consented to sex with Bauer on two separate occasions earlier this year, but accused him of doing things that she did not consent to during intercourse.

She alleged that Bauer choked her until she lost consciousness, repeatedly punched her in the face and her vagina and gave her injuries that required hospitalization, according to the request.

Bauer and his team previously told NBC News that the California woman “had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship” with the baseball player. According to Fetterolf, “her basis for filing a protection order is nonexistent, fraudulent, and deliberately omits key facts, information, and her own relevant communications.”

“Any allegations that the pair’s encounters were not 100 percent consensual are baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

The temporary restraining order was granted last month following the request and a hearing has been scheduled for Monday to determine if it should become permanent.

The Los Angeles Dodgers did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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House passes John Lewis voting rights bill, sends measure to Senate for tougher fight

House Democrats on Tuesday passed a sweeping voting rights bill named after Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the late civil rights icon.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was approved 219-212. All Republicans voted against the legislation.

The bill is part of congressional Democrats’ broader campaign to strengthen voting laws at the federal level to fight restrictive voting laws passed in Republican-led states, such as Texas and Georgia. However, it faces steep opposition in the Senate, where Democrats hold a wafer-thin majority.

The House returned from its recess this week to take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a resolution for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package, which includes funding for much of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. The procedural motion used to pass the multitrillion-dollar resolution paved the way for the House to vote on the voting rights bill, which was re-introduced last week by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.

The legislation would require states with recent histories of discrimination to get federal “preclearance” to change their voting laws, which directly addresses the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. The ruling gutted the preclearance system in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which civil rights advocates argue was successful in blocking proposed voting restrictions in states and localities with histories of racial discrimination.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement last week that Congress had “not only an ironclad Constitutional mandate, but a moral responsibility” to pass the bill.

Shortly before its passage, Pelosi said on the House floor that the bill would honor Lewis’ legacy.

“We should have the right to vote and shouldn’t be diminished by anyone. It is unpatriotic to undermine the ability of people who have a right to vote, who have access to the polls,” she said. “As John knew, this precious pillar of our democracy is under attack from one of the worst voter suppression campaigns since Jim Crow.”

It isn’t the first time House Democrats have tackled election law. In March, House Democrats passed the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that seeks to change campaign finance, voting and ethics laws.

The bill would expand access to the ballot box by creating automatic voter registration across the country by registering eligible voters whenever they interact with government agencies, restoring the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated, expanding early voting and modernizing the country’s voting systems.

However, Senate Republicans filibustered the voting rights legislation in June, and the vote to advance an amended version of the For the People Act split along party lines 50-50, short of the 60 votes needed. All Democratic-aligned senators voted to begin debate, and Republicans unanimously voted to block the bill.

Passage of the voting measure was the final vote of the week for the House, whose members are leaving Washington and won’t return until Sept. 20.

Haley Talbot contributed.

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