Attorneys for former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who was anticipated to plead responsible Wednesday to mendacity to federal authorities investigating an unlawful sports-gambling ring, now say they’re exploring a potential protection.
Puig was joined by his attorneys, Keri Axel and Jose Nuno, and his agent, Lisette Carnet, Wednesday on the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. A choose agreed to proceed the listening to till Tuesday.
“We need more time to assess a possible innocence defense,” Axel advised The Occasions after the listening to.
Puig, 31, had beforehand signed an settlement to plead responsible to 1 rely of creating false statements, which carries a most sentence of 5 years in federal jail, the U.S. legal professional’s workplace for the Central District of California stated. He additionally agreed to pay a positive of at the least $55,000.
Prosecutors alleged that Puig “made several false statements to the agents that were material to the investigation” when federal authorities interviewed him Jan. 27 in regards to the playing ring, based on the plea settlement.
After the settlement was unsealed Nov. 14, Axel advised The Occasions that Puig can be eligible for probation and regarded ahead to placing the episode behind him, however within the days since, she stated, proof has come to gentle that’s modified her outlook on the case.
Puig had positioned bets with an unlawful sports-gambling operation run by Wayne Nix, a former minor-league baseball participant who lives in Newport Seashore, however he was not charged in reference to collaborating within the ring’s operations. These bets went by way of a 3rd celebration, a former collegiate baseball participant and personal coach referred to within the plea settlement as “Agent 1,” who positioned and accepted wagers for Nix’s enterprise.
Axel stated she has found a number of messages that Agent 1 and an affiliate of Agent 1 despatched to her shopper.
Agent 1 and the affiliate requested Puig a number of occasions to talk about the federal investigation, however he declined, she stated.
Till Axel noticed the messages, she stated in court docket, she didn’t understand the variety of occasions Agent 1 and the affiliate contacted Puig for data on the investigation, the variety of occasions Puig refused to inform them in regards to the investigation, and the potential that her shopper was entrapped.
Axel advised U.S. District Choose Dolly Gee that she needed time to request and overview information held by prosecutors in order that she will be able to adequately advise Puig on whether or not there’s a potential protection — together with the federal authorities’s report of the interview with Puig, handwritten notes of the interview taken by the brokers, and any charging paperwork or plea agreements pertaining to Agent 1 and the affiliate.
Puig didn’t have his personal Spanish-language interpreter or a prison protection legal professional with him through the interview, his camp has stated.
Axel stated she confronted a number of challenges in advising her shopper, who’s a Spanish speaker with a third-grade training, and who was enjoying baseball in South Korea till he returned to the U.S. final week for his arraignment. Making an attempt to advise Puig on advanced authorized points whereas coping with the language barrier and the time distinction was a big problem, she stated.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeff Mitchell, one in every of two prosecutors engaged on the case, stated that the plea settlement was signed months in the past and that prosecutors have made their proof accessible to Puig’s protection group.
The request by Puig’s group could trigger the plea settlement to be breached, Mitchell stated, although Axel advised the choose that Puig didn’t want to breach his settlement right now.
Puig, who defected from Cuba in 2012, turned a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2019. Puig final performed for a Main League Baseball group in 2019. Since then he performed within the Dominican Winter League, the Mexican League and this previous season in South Korea.