A former associate has filed a $12 million lawsuit against Yasiel Puig, claiming the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder made false accusations and statements to authorities, leading to a seven-year prison sentence.
According to the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez, Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot has filed a claim alleging that Puig and his mother knowingly misled police and accused him of human trafficking.
During a 2010 court case, Puig and his mother testified that Corbacho Daudinot was complicit in planning the Dodgers outfielder's escape from Cuba. The two were seen as key witnesses in the prosecution's case, one in which Corbacho Daudinot was found guilty and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
He was released after serving half of his sentence and is currently free under Cuba's “provisional liberty” program—an equivalent to probation in the United States. Corbacho Daudinot is not free to leave Cuba during the length of his sentence.
According to Hernandez, Corbacho Daudinot is claiming “prolonged arbitrary detention and torture” as a result of Puig's testimony. It is not known whether his mother is also named in the suit.
Though Corbacho Daudinot is a permanent resident of the Dominican Republic, the complaint was filed in a federal district court in Florida. Corbacho Daudinot's lawyers claim United States courts should handle the case under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, which allows for civil cases to be tried for plaintiffs who were acting in an official government capacity—i.e. testifying in a Cuban federal court as a witness for the prosecution.
It is unknown how many times Puig claims Corbacho Daudinot helped him try to escape. Corbacho Daudinot's suit claims Puig and his mother testified against him in order for the Cuban government to allow him to play baseball. Cuba famously places bans on players caught trying to escape.
As noted in a story by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Puig is known to have made multiple attempts to flee Cuba to the United States. Passan notes that Puig unsuccessfully tried to escape the country so many times that he lost track, though the number was at least "six, or eight."
The 22-year-old Puig successfully defected last June, at which point he established residency in Mexico to secure a major league contract. Los Angeles subsequently signed Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract within mere days of his defection.
Since coming up to the big leagues, Puig has become one of the most recognizable young stars in baseball. He's batting .381 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in just over one month of his tenure in Los Angeles.
Puig's agent, Jaime Torres, spoke to the Los Angeles Times, claiming that Puig has retained an attorney and is in the process of responding to the case. He would not, however, comment on the nature of the case publicly.
“This is not something we’re going to comment about,” Torres said.
Neither Puig nor the Dodgers have made a comment at this time.
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