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Federal prosecutors say Alex Rodriguez paid Yuri Sucart nearly $1M to keep quiet

The New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez speaks at

The New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez speaks at a news conference before the Yankees played the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Credit: AP / Charles Cherney

Alex Rodriguez paid his cousin Yuri Sucart nearly $1 million in 2013 in the wake of a threat to reveal the "duties" that Sucart had performed at the request of the Yankees third baseman over the years, according to a federal court filing Monday.

The payments by Rodriguez were outlined by federal prosecutors to prove Sucart has the financial wherewithal to afford an attorney. Sucart faces steroid distribution charges related to his alleged role in the Biogenesis case and had requested a court-appointed attorney on hardship.

Federal prosecutors submitted an executed settlement agreement between Rodriguez and Sucart -- dated June 5, 2013 -- along with subsequent wire transfer receipts as evidence of the financial support that Rodriguez provided his cousin up until late 2013.

The settlement agreement between Sucart and Rodriguez's A-Rod Corporation came just months after an attorney for Sucart sent Rodriguez a threatening letter in which federal prosecutors say "suggests defendant would maintain his silence" about A-Rod in exchange for $5 million and a life estate.

That letter from attorney Jeffrey Sonn, a copy of which was provided to the court by prosecutors, read: "Yuri followed your every instruction, need, and in some cases, handled matters that were of a very sensitive and confidential nature. He protected you and your way of life."

Major League Baseball banned Sucart from the Yankees' premises in 2009 after Rodriguez admitted using steroids while with the Rangers from 2000-03, saying Sucart obtained and injected the drugs for him. Still, Rodriguez kept him on his payroll until 2012, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez recently completed his one-season performance-enhancing drug suspension handed down because of his connection with Biogenesis and admitted steroid dealer Anthony Bosch. Assistant U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan also said in the filing that Rodriguez "has a prominent role" in the government's case that Sucart distributed testosterone and human growth hormone.

"The government will prove that [Sucart] personally arranged meetings between Rodriguez and Bosch, where Bosch injected Rodriguez with PEDs; and that defendant received an ample cut of the payments Rodriguez made to Bosch," Sullivan wrote.

The Yankees plan to welcome Rodriguez back next year. He has three years and $61 million remaining on his contract.

A spokesman for Rodriguez did not respond to a request for comment.

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