Update: Sucart has been sentenced to seven months in federal prison for his role in the steroid operation.
For 20 years, Yuri Sucart was Alex Rodriguez's right-hand man. A-Rod's pudgy cousin arranged hotel rooms, booked travel — and also hooked the slugger up with the performance enhancing drugs that fueled much of his career. But Sucart now awaits a federal judge's ruling on how much time he'll spend behind bars for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, which cost A-Rod a full season suspension and millions in salary.
In court papers filed this morning, Sucart for the first time spills the details on exactly how the feds nabbed him. He says his downfall started when he refused to sign confidentiality papers after A-Rod fired him in October 2012. A friend of another A-Rod relative — his half-brother — then led the feds to his doorstep, Sucart says.
Sucart, who was raised in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood with Rodriguez before the young baseball phenom moved to Miami, spent years traveling with No. 13 as his big league career exploded.
As he describes it in the court filing this morning, he was all but an indentured servant to the star shortstop.
"Mr. Sucart’s job required him to be on call literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," his attorneys write. "As a result of this job, Yuri missed many family birthdays and other milestones."
When A-Rod's steroid habits went public, Sucart paid a big price. Sports Illustrated first broke in the news in 2009 that A-Rod had failed steroid tests years earlier with the Texas Rangers, and the slugger in response outed his cousin as the drug source. Sucart was banned from all MLB clubhouses.
But he soon found his way back into A-Rod's employ, and life went on as usual — including Sucart's role as a PED connection. Sucart helped introduce Rodriguez in 2010 to Anthony Bosch, the unlicensed doctor who ran Biogenesis, a Gables "anti-aging clinic" that sold steroids on the black market.
Sucart acted as a go-between between A-Rod and Bosch for the next two years, until October 2012, when Rodriguez abruptly fired him. (As New Times reported last year, sources close to the star say Rodriguez became concerned that Sucart was working on his own with Bosch, recruiting new big leaguers to the steroid clinic.)
Without his cousin's payroll, Sucart soon found himself destitute. He had to pull his son out of Westminster Academy and his daughter from college. "It became obvious and known to many that the Sucart’s financial situation wasn’t good," his lawyers write.
That's when A-Rod, along with his half-brother, Joe Dunand, came back with an offer in late 2012, Sucart says in court filings: Sign a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a payout. Sucart balked and wouldn't sign.
Soon afterward, a good friend of Dunand called. The friend, identified only as J.A. in court papers, said he knew Yuri needed money and offered to put him in touch with a minor leaguer who needed PEDs. Yuri agreed and J.A. set up a meeting to discuss details.
But J.A. was wearing a wire for the feds, Sucart says in court filings, and the "minor leaguer" was actually an undercover agent.
Did A-Rod help set up the sting operation with his half-brother? Sucart doesn't say in court filings. Rodriguez did later agree to cooperate with federal agents, testifying under oath about his own steroid use connected to Biogenesis and pledging to testify if necessary in criminal cases against Sucart and others.
Either way, Sucart now finds himself in dire straits. In the new filings, his attorneys ask the court to consider a reduced sentence considering the outsized role his famous cousin played in the scheme — and considering Yuri's significant health problems.
Sucart has been hospitalized for weeks since his indictment last summer. What exactly is he suffering from? In addition to open heart surgery that required a Pacemaker, his attorneys list a medical seminar's worth of conditions Sucart is dealing with:
He has a brain tumor that prevents testosterone from being produced. His medical conditions are acromegaly, rheumatoid heart disease, valvular heart disease, mitral valve mechanical valve repair, arythmia, atrial fibrillation, implanted permanent pacemaker, L4/L5 diskitis manifesting with severe pain, lumbar stenosis, status post median sternectomy with extraction of 2 clots in left atrium, gouty arthritis, status post both legs embolectomy of tibia vessels, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, DMII, coronary artery disease, deconditioning, poor adenocortical states, depression, severe peripheral vascular disease.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
"Sucart’s multiple medical conditions all suggest home confinement, rather than incarceration would be more appropriate in this circumstance than imprisonment," his attorneys write, pointing to billing statements that show he's racked up more than $180,000 in doctor's bills recently.
No date has been set for Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga to rule on Sucart's sentence.
Update 6/4/15: Two days after Sucart's plea, Judge Altonago A-Rod's cousin to seven months in federal prison for his role in the Biogenesis scheme.