Ohtani’s dizzying 3 weeks end with his exoneration by the authorities

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The formal indictment and complaint were announced a day after The New York Times reported that Mizuhara and his lawyer, Michael Freedman, a former prosecutor who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, were negotiating a plea deal. On Friday, Mizuhara surrendered to law enforcement in Los Angeles and made his first court appearance, wearing civilian clothes and shackles. He did not enter a plea and was released on $25,000 bond. The conditions of his release require him to undergo drug tests and seek treatment for gambling addiction.

Freedman released a statement Friday saying Mizuhara “is continuing to cooperate with the legal process and hopes to be able to reach an agreement with the government to resolve this case as quickly as possible so he can assume responsibility.” He added that Mizuhara apologized to Ohtani and the Dodgers and was “anxious to get treatment for his gambling.”

The trip to Seoul seemed like a triumphant moment for Major League Baseball. Ohtani’s emergence as a transcendent star in the United States, whose on-field exploits evoked comparisons to Babe Ruth, had given the league a new cultural relevance around the world. And now Ohtani and his new team, which signed him to a 10-year, $700 million contract in December, were in Asia to open a new season with two games against the San Diego Padres. The excitement couldn’t have been higher.

But once the news about Mizuhara broke, Major League Baseball realized it had a problem on its hands. He announced that he was investigating the matter. And the Los Angeles field offices of the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security, unusually, made public the news that they, too, had opened an investigation. The saga of major league career leader Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball in the 1980s for betting on the sport, was on everyone’s mind.

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