New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is currently serving a 162-game suspension from Major League Baseball after his involvement with Biogenesis and performance-enhancing drugs, but that suspension may be the least of his problems.
According to Teri Thompson and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News, sources are saying that the Justice Department's hiring of a big-time prosecutor, Patrick Sullivan, means there are bigger things to come with the DEA's investigation into Anthony Bosch's illegal operation, which could spell trouble for A-Rod if he was helping to financially support the clinic:
The Justice Department didn’t bring heavy-hitting prosecutor Patrick Sullivan into the Biogenesis case just to file relatively low-level criminal charges against Anthony Bosch and six other defendants linked to the anti-aging clinic — and that could be bad news for Alex Rodriguez, sources familiar with the case have told the Daily News.
“If this was just about A-Rod getting shot up, Pat Sullivan wouldn’t be on the case,” one of the sources said.
The report also points out that Sullivan is well-known for breaking up extensive criminal networks that distribute drugs and his role in the case is to help find the men who put up the money to help Bosch's clinic run.
Bosch is still working with investigators and answering their questions in order to save his own bacon, so there may be no stone left unturned after this is all said and done. Among the questions being asked of Bosch by Sullivan are who were his financial backers in the now-defunct clinic:
Rodriguez may become a target if investigators discover that he put up money for the drug ring’s operations, or if prosecutors believe they can prove that Rodriguez steered Major League Baseball players and other professional athletes to Biogenesis, the sources said. Sucart and another defendant, Juan Carlos Nunez, recruited pro athletes for the clinic, Ferrer said on Tuesday, telling them that Bosch was a doctor who could provide them with undetectable testosterone lozenges and syringes.
Sullivan and his team have also questioned Bosch at length about doctors and pharmacists linked to the clinic, as well as the “bankers” who put up the money for the ring that allegedly sold performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, college and high school jocks, and major league prospects in the Dominican Republic.
As The News reported Friday, a second defendant is also cooperating, one source said, and has already provided extensive information about others connected to the clinic, including Rodriguez.
If Rodriguez is one of those people, he may be in a courthouse soon with charges filed against him. On top of that, Rodriguez's reported attempt to buy Biogenesis records in order to cover up his involvement with the clinic could lead to obstruction charges against him.
Rodriguez could also face obstruction, witness tampering or other charges. The MLB officials who presented evidence of Rodriguez’s doping history to arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in A-Rod’s battle to upend his drug suspension last year claimed that Rodriguez had purchased Biogenesis documents in order to destroy them or block investigators from obtaining them.
Whether or not that means Rodriguez remains to be seen, but if he so much as recruited other players and led them to Bosch, that could net him criminal charges. It is already known that Sucart had recruited other players to do business with Bosch, which appears to already be a potential link to Rodriguez.
It doesn't stop there, however.
Rodriguez also allegedly used a friend of his to lobby threats at Bosch in order to keep him quiet, with text messages showing up on the phone of Bosch's girlfriend promising that he wouldn't live to see the end of 2013 if he spilled the beans.
In a "60 Minutes" interview, MLB COO Rob Manfred said those texts came from a known associate of A-Rod's:
When the Biogenesis scandal erupted in January 2013, Velazquez — whose criminal history stretches back more than 20 years and includes arrests on charges of grand theft, drug offenses, burglary and domestic violence — served as A-Rod’s muscle, according to Horowitz’s report, delivering threats of violence if Bosch didn’t remain silent.
According to Horowitz’s report, made public after Rodriguez sued MLB following Horowitz’s ruling to uphold the player’s suspension, Bosch said he had been the target of a series of disturbing threats, including a text message to a former girlfriend that claimed he would not live to see the end of 2013.
“I don’t know what Mr. Rodriguez knew,” Manfred said after Pelley asked him if Rodriguez and/or his associates were behind the death threats. “I know that the individual involved has been an associate of Mr. Rodriguez for some time.”
If it can be proven that Rodriguez was ordering the threats, that can be considered witness tampering, which again is illegal.
This is explosive news to say the least. The Yankees thought they would be done with the A-Rod-Biogenesis twists and turns and that the third baseman would simply return to play in 2015 with only questions to answer from the media, but there may be much more coming down the road.
The black cloud cast by A-Rod over Major League Baseball and the Yankees may not fade just yet. If he is charged, the Yanks may get their wish to be rid of A-Rod and all of his troubles that will be good for nothing but a distraction next season and beyond.
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