Wally Backman, the mercurial second baseman of the New York Mets in the 1980s, was found innocent of charges that he roughed up his girlfriend.
Prosecutors contend that Backman, 60, of Deer Park, pushed Amanda Byrnes against a wall during a dispute on August 30 in her Riverhead home, and then twisted her left hand as she tried to call 911. But the current manager of the Long Island Ducks was the victim, ruled Riverhead Town Justice Lori Hulse after a four-day nonjury trial on January 22.
Court insiders were buzzing during the four-day trial that Byrnes had a history of accusing male friends of violent behavior.
“I said from day one that I never touched her or laid a hand on her,” Backman told reporters after the verdict was announced. “I’m happy for the team I had to help me. Justice was served.”
Byrnes had accused Backman of being intoxicated, causing trauma to her chest, and taking her cell phone, but evidence introduced indicated she called police 70 times to report the behavior of her mates since 2011, according to court testimony.
Backman also has dirty laundry. He was charged with misdemeanor harassment for an incident involving his ex-wife and her friend in Oregon and later pleaded guilty. A year earlier, Backman was arrested and later convicted on a driving under the influence charge in Kennewick, WA. He thanked the Ducks and his family for sticking by him during the trial.