End near for Cuban baseball player smuggling trial

Los Angeles Dodgers player Yasiel Puig, from Cuba, greets young baseball players before giving a clinic in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, during the first Major League Baseball trip to the island since 1999. "We're going to give our best on this visit and we appreciate the opportunity we've been given," said Puig, who left Cuba on a smuggler's fast-boat in 2012. "Everything else we leave to God and destiny." (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

MIAMI (AP) — Testimony has ended in the Miami trial of a sports agent and a trainer accused of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. so they could sign lucrative professional contracts.

The prosecution and defense rested Friday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning in the federal case against agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and alien smuggling charges.

Jurors could begin deliberations later Tuesday.

Prosecutors said the pair used shady boat captains, document forgers and phony paperwork to get the players to the U.S. quickly so they could sign Major League Baseball contracts.

Several Cuban players testified, including Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Leonys Martin of the Seattle Mariners. Neither Hernandez nor Estrada took the witness stand.

 

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