The trial of a sports agent in Florida took a turn towards the bizarre on Wednesday afternoon when José Abreu told the court he ate part of a fake passport while traveling on an Air France plane destined for Miami.
Abreu was traveling on a fake passport in 2013, shortly before he signed a $68 million contract with the White Sox. Fearing he wouldn’t be allowed into the country and miss the signing deadline, Abreu ordered a beer on the flight and began to eat the page of the fake document that had his photo with a fake name. His testimony was recorded by the Chicago Sun Times.
“Little by little I swallowed that first page of the passport. I could not arrive in the United States with a false passport,”
Jurors are hearing a case against sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and baseball trainer Julio Estrada. The men are accused of running a smuggling ring that would take baseball players out of Cuba to other countries, where they would receive fake documents and fly into the United States with the instruction they would destroy their documentation on the plane.
This would cause undocumented Cuban citizens to arrive on U.S. soil where they would be allowed to stay under the “Wet feet, dry feet policy,” which allowed Cuban immigrants to stay in the United States provided they physically made it to American soil. Once baseball players had received lucrative contracts they would pay the two smugglers a fee for their assistance in aiding their arrival to the U.S.
Abreu allegedly paid the men 25 percent of his contract for their assistance in getting him to Chicago on time to sign is deal. The White Sox player was granted limited immunity to prosecution, provided he fully cooperated with prosecutors.