MIAMI (Reuters) - A cousin of Alex Rodriguez who linked the New York Yankees slugger to baseball’s doping scandal plans to change his plea of not guilty on charges of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, records filed on Friday in Miami federal court showed.
Yuri Sucart was arrested in August 2014 along with six others, including the owner of the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida at the center of a doping controversy that ensnared some of Major League Baseball’s most prominent stars.
Sucart is the lone remaining defendant not to have pleaded guilty. But he is scheduled to change his not-guilty plea during a court hearing next Friday in the U.S. Southern District of Florida, according to the court papers, and is widely expected to plead guilty.
He was charged with conspiring to distribute testosterone and five counts of distributing testosterone, punishable by a total of 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez, one of baseball’s top-paid players, gave Sucart nearly $1 million in 2013. Sucart’s lawyers had threatened to reveal that he was the player’s “steroid mule,” according to court records.
Rodriguez, known as “A-Rod,” recently returned to the field for the Yankees for spring training in Tampa after being suspended for the entire 2014 season over the doping scandal.
Anthony Bosch, who had owned the Biogenesis clinic, was sentenced four years in prison in February after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute testosterone.
Bosch had been expected to testify against Sucart if the case had gone to trial, court records showed.
Sucart’s lawyer, Edward O’Donnell, could not immediately be reached for comment. Federal prosecutors declined to comment.
Editing by Letitia Stein and Will Dunham