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Monday, June 24, 2024

Yasiel Puig Flips to Not Guilty Plea In Illegal Gambling Probe

  • Puig agreed to plead guilty in November for allegedly lying to federal investigators.
  • "I never should have agreed to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit."
Baseball player Yasiel Puig looks over shoulder in dug-out
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yasiel Puig is looking to clear his name for his involvement in an illegal gambling investigation.

After agreeing to plead guilty as part of a plea deal for his involvement in an illegal sports betting operation, Puig is now withdrawing that plea and will plead not guilty.

“I want to clear my name,” Puig said. “I never should have agreed to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit.”

Puig is being charged with lying to federal investigators in January about his alleged $282,900 in gambling losses over a two-month span in 2019. The 31-year-old had allegedly placed bets with former minor leaguer Wayne Nix, who, in April, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and one count of filing a false tax return.

Cincinatti Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig looks dejected in team dugout

Yasiel Puig to Plead Guilty For Lying During Federal Gambling Probe

Court appearance on Tuesday after indictment for lying to investigators was unsealed.
November 15, 2022

Puig’s lawyers — who now include renowned civil rights attorney Lawrence S. Middleton as a consultant — are saying that the former MLB star was not properly prepared to enter a plea.

“At the time of his January 2022 interview, Mr. Puig, who has a third-grade education, had untreated mental-health issues, and did not have his own interpreter or criminal legal counsel with him,” said Keri Axel of Waymaker LLP. “We have reviewed the evidence, including significant new information, and have serious concerns about the allegations made against Yasiel.”

Under his previous plea agreement, Puig agreed to pay a fine of $55,000 and faced as much as three years in prison.

Since his last season in MLB with Cincinnati and Cleveland, Puig played in the Mexican League in 2021 and with the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes on a one-year, $1 million contract last season.

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