Attorneys For Former Dodgers Outfielder Yasiel Puig Believe Defense Exists For Gambling Charges

On November 15, it was announced former Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Yasiel Puig was facing up to five years in prison after agreeing to plead guilty for lying to federal investigators regarding an illegal sports-gambling operation.

At 31 years old, Puig, who was last seen on a Major League diamond in 2019, was expected to plead guilty to one count of making false statements.

However, after further investigation by his lawyers, Keri Axel and Jose Nuno, Gregory Lee of the L.A. Times reported that Puig’s defense team could be looking at alternative options:

Attorneys for former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who was expected to plead guilty Wednesday to lying to federal authorities investigating an illegal sports-gambling ring, now say they are exploring a possible defense.

The former Dodger, who was optimistic regarding a return to Major League Baseball in the future after a strong year in the Korean Baseball League, was placing bets through an illegal sports-gambling operation run by former Minor League baseball player Wayne Nix.

His bets, however, were given through a third party, a former collegiate baseball player and private coach deemed only as “Agent 1.” It was this line of communication, that caught the attention of Puig’s lawyers:

Until Axel saw the messages, she said in court, she did not realize the number of times Agent 1 and the associate contacted Puig for information on the investigation, the number of times Puig refused to tell them about the investigation, and the potential that her client was entrapped.

This potential claim of entrapment could help make a newfound case for Puig’s innocence, or at the very least, delay the case as a whole.

Yasiel Puig returning to MLB?

After last playing in 2018 for the Dodgers and in MLB as a whole in 2019, Puig has spent the last few seasons never ruling out a potential return.

The lifetime .277 batter and 2014 All-Star has spent time in the Dominican Winter League, Mexican League, and most recently, as a member of the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO.

This past season with the Heroes, Puig put up impressive numbers, including a .277 batting average, .474 slugging percentage, 21 home runs, and 73 RBI across 126 games.

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