The spokesman did not comment on the possibility of a lawsuit filed against MLB
by Collazo.Collazo and Quintero . And he says it all began with MLB
’s aggressive tactics used against him during its probe.“I got pretty scared,” says Collazo. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida outlined the case against Collazo and the other Biogenesis defendants last summer. Prosecutors claimed Collazo did “actively recruit underage high school athletes for Mr.
Schwartz, Michael Six years after being 'outed' by cousin Alex Rodriguez, Yuri Sucart will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute human growth hormon.
MIAMI ? Six years ago, Yuri Sucart was first identified to the media by Alex Rodriguez, when the disgraced Yankee slugger held an awkward spring training press conference to admit to his doping past, making a surprising admission in the process, by singling out his “Cousin Yuri” as his main steroid mule.
The ensuing years have been even less kind to Yuri Sucart, who has been banned from clubhouses and traveling entourages by Major League Baseball; fired by Rodriguez in late 2011; targeted in an MLB investigation and a federal investigation of Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic Rodriguez turned to for steroids and human growth hormone; seen his health deteriorate dramatically; and weathered massive legal issues while A-Rod completed a season-long doping ban but skirted under the government’s radar in the Biogenesis case.
On Friday, Sucart takes the first step toward removing the burdensome legal collar he has been saddled with since his arrest last Aug. 5 by federal authorities. He will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute human growth hormone before U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga and await sentencing.
But while Sucart’s plea agreement means Rodriguez will not have to take the stand in a trial ? as he was expected to do had the case advanced that far ? and Friday’s hearing seems to be the final chapter of the Biogenesis case, there is a possibility of future litigation by at least one Biogenesis defendant, meaning the shuttered Coral Gables anti-aging clinic may still be making headlines in 2015 and beyond.
The lawyer for Lazaro (Lazer) Collazo, a former University of Miami baseball coach, another Biogenesis defendant who has already received his sentence ? two years’ probation, after pleading guilty to lesser charges earlier this month ? has indicated he is exploring a lawsuit charging any entity or person, including MLB, with obtaining medical records whose contents are heavily protected by Florida law.
“We’re looking into filing a lawsuit against every entity or person who purchased, sold or disclosed Lazer’s medical records in violation of Florida law,” says Frank Quintero Jr., referring to the circumstances surrounding the purchase of Biogenesis documents by different entities and persons, including, he says, Major League Baseball, in 2013 (Rodriguez also purchased records that were produced by Biogenesis.) “Florida has got one of the toughest regulations concerning the obtaining and disclosure of medical records in the entire country.”
Winslow Townson/AP Yuri Sucart's upcoming guilty plea lets Alex Rodriguez avoid testifying in his cousin's trial, but the Biogenesis case may not be over yet for the disgraced Yankee slugger.
The 51-year-old Collazo became ensnared in the Biogenesis case and was charged with three counts of conspiracy to distribute testosterone and HGH, including claims that Collazo purchased the drugs “for distribution to a minor.” During MLB’s separate investigation into the clinic and its founder, Anthony Bosch, Collazo was interviewed by MLB investigators as part of their probe.
Collazo is still adamant that MLB “threatened” him during an interview with him at his Miami home in 2013, a claim that one of his former attorneys made that same year, after Collazo became a possible witness in a lawsuit MLB filed against Bosch and other associates. Major League Baseball, which operated its probe without the benefit of subpoena power, meaning witnesses had no obligation to cooperate with baseball investigators, has long maintained that it never used intimidating tactics with witnesses during its investigation.
An MLB spokesman told the Daily News that “we vehemently deny” using any intimidation tactics, threats or harassing witnesses. The spokesman did not comment on the possibility of a lawsuit filed against MLB by Collazo.
Collazo and Quintero ? who mounted an aggressive defense of Collazo in the federal case and was able to get his client to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of purchasing a controlled substance (testosterone) without a prescription ? are presenting a different story of how MLB operated.
The former Miami pitching coach says he vividly remembers the night that MLB investigators showed up late at his home, “presented themselves as police officers or retired police officers,” and then proceeded to “threaten” Collazo into giving up damaging information on professional baseball players, including Rodriguez and Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun.
“This got me pissed off ? my little girl, my daughter, at the time was nine years old,” Collazo told the Daily News Tuesday. “At 10:30 at night, when they came over, they bullied me and my family in front of my little girl. They threatened me that if I wouldn’t talk or if I didn’t say something about Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, they were going to go through the press and pretty much squash my name.”
While MLB’s interest in Collazo was to try to uncover PED links between baseball players and Biogenesis, the government painted Collazo in very stark terms when the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida outlined the case against Collazo and the other Biogenesis defendants last summer. Prosecutors claimed Collazo did “actively recruit underage high school athletes for Mr. Bosch.”
But Collazo says he never was guilty of anything other than the “mistake” of purchasing synthetic testosterone without a prescription for himself from someone who was not a doctor.
“The other allegations that I was dealing with ? taking young kids to Biogenesis ? all those accusations and indictments have been dropped because it was me saying, and Mr. Quintero telling Major League Baseball, the government, and whoever else, ‘That’s not true.’ Here’s a guy like me, a little ant, I was thrown to the wolves.
“From Day 1, I have said the one thing I did do, a mistake, was purchase testosterone for myself,” adds Collazo, who said he purchased the drugs from Bosch business partner Carlos Acevedo, another defendant in the federal case.
Daniel Portnoy While Yuri Sucart, whose health deteriorates in recent years, looks to put the Biogenesis case behind him, fellow defendant Lazaro (Lazer) Collazo is considering future litigation.
Collazo says he is relieved to have the federal case behind him but that the entire ordeal has deeply hurt him and his family and has “killed my career” as a baseball coach. And he says it all began with MLB’s aggressive tactics used against him during its probe.
“I got pretty scared,” says Collazo. “My wife was there (during the MLB interview with him at his home), she gets scared. She’s going crazy after they leave.”
Sucart, meanwhile, will plead guilty Friday, and will hope that Judge Altonaga sees fit to spare him from jail when he is eventually sentenced. His medical issues are very serious and will likely play a role in whether he gets house arrest and probation or does jail time.
As one source close to the case says: “Everyone thought Yuri was the evil bad guy. In reality, he was just a scapegoat for Alex for a very long time.”
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