Closing arguments set for Cuban baseball smuggling trial
FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo trainer Julio Estrada leaves federal court in Miami. Closing arguments are set for Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Miami trial of agent Bartolo Hernandez and Estrada accused of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States. Both are facing conspiracy and alien smuggling charges. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
MIAMI — Closing arguments are set in the Miami trial of a sports agent and a trainer accused of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S.
Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers will deliver closing arguments Tuesday to a federal jury hearing the case of agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada. Both are facing conspiracy and alien smuggling charges.
Jurors likely will begin deliberations later Tuesday. Testimony lasted about six weeks.
Prosecutors said the two oversaw a network of boat captains, handlers, document forgers and used phony paperwork to get the players to the U.S. quickly so they could sign lucrative 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.