Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Pled Not Guilty As A Formality

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani have enjoyed a successful season up to this point, but it began on an odd note following a gambling and alleged theft scandal involving Ohtani and his former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

The whole situation contributed to a tumultuous beginning to the season that saw inconsistent play from a Dodgers team with extremely high expectations.

The story further faded into the rearview mirror after a federal investigation cleared Ohtani of any wrongdoing and Mizuhara surrendered himself to federal authorities amid his bank fraud charge.

Back on May 9, Mizuhara was expected to plead guilty to the multiple charges levied against him.

Mizuhara appeared in federal court in Los Angeles for his arraignment on Tuesday but pled not guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return, according to Stefanie Dazio of the Associated Press:

The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani pled not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case.

The move to plead not guilty is seen as a formality with a plea deal set in place down the line, so it won’t affect the outcome of the case moving forward:

During his arraignment Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth asked Mizuhara to enter a plea to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. The expected not-guilty plea was a procedural step as the case moves forward, even though he has already agreed to the plea deal.

The next step is a status conference, which refers to court events scheduled with the parties and attorneys for the purpose of identifying the current status of the case and determining the next steps, which is set for next month:

The judge set a status conference for June 14.

With the plea deal between Mizuhara and federal prosecutors already in place, he is expected to serve anywhere from seven-to-nine years in prison bank and tax fraud. However, he faces up to 33 years in prison and will be required to pay back the stolen funds.

Mizuhara has publicly apologized to Ohtani and the Dodgers for his actions.

Shohei Ohtani to talk more after Ippei Mizuhara plea deal

Ohtani has remained his privacy surrounding his connection to the case, choosing instead to focus on the season at hand. He is expected to be more open about the situation and potentially answer questions following Mizuhara’s plea deal.

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