In June 2013, Alex Rodriguez was sweating the biggest drug scandal in MLB history. Six months after Miami New Times had revealed a local clinic called Biogenesis was selling steroids to scores of top players, MLB was closing in on Tony Bosch, the clinic's owner. Bosch was a big problem, but first A-Rod had to plug another hole in the dam.
His cousin Yuri Sucart had been his assistant -- and often his drug connection -- for years until November 2012, when A-Rod fired him. Ever since Biogenesis blew up, Sucart had been threatening to talk.
Now, new documents show A-Rod finally caved two months before his record suspension, agreeing to pay his cousin $900,000 in exchange for keeping his mouth shut.
The news, first reported last night by the New York Daily News, comes via Miami's federal courthouse, where Sucart is facing charges of illegally supplying testosterone through Bosch's clinic.
Yuri had filed for indigent status, asking for a court-appointed lawyer -- and his daughter had even appealed for donations online, claiming her father was so broke and sick that he was desperate for cash. But the new filings from prosecutors cast doubt on that claim.
In December 2012 -- a month after A-Rod fired his cousin -- Sucart's local attorney, Jeffrey Sonn, sent a letter to Rodriguez. The message was clear: Yuri has been a loyal subject for years, but he can't stay quiet if he's broke.
(Sucart, of course, had a deeper reason to remain loyal to his cousin through his whole career. He'd been convicted of a felony in New York in the early '90s, had shaky immigration status, and had slim job prospects outside of being his famous cousin's gofer.)
Sonn made A-Rod an offer: $5 million and a free house, and Sucart would stay quiet about everything:
Rodriguez didn't bite. But a month later, New Times' story broke and MLB launched an all-out investigative assault in South Florida. After five months of maneuvering to stay out of baseball commissioner Bud Selig's grasp, Rodriguez was ready to play ball.
The cousins signed a confidential settlement June 5, 2013, in which A-Rod agreed to pay $700,000 upfront and another $200,000 over the next several months. Rodriguez also agreed to hire Sucart as a "property manager" with a $75,000 annual salary for five years, noting that the job "shall be unrelated to Mr. Rodriguez's professional baseball endeavors."
And in exchange, Sucart promised not to sue and to keep "confidential information" to himself.
So what became of all that cash? Is Yuri actually broke?
This morning, the court ruled on Sucart's application for a government attorney and granted him "partial indigency." But in light of the new evidence about his hefty hush money payout, he's been ordered to contribute $600 a month toward his lawyer.
One other intriguing bit of news comes out of the new filings as well. A-Rod, it seems, will be a chief witness against his cousin in the feds' case.
"Rodriguez has a prominent role in the government's proof of the Counts 1 and 2 conspiracies to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone," the feds write.
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