MIAMI — A major league pitcher who defected from Cuba has been sued for $18 million by a Cuban-American man who blames the player for his imprisonment in Cuba.
The lawsuit was filed last week in Miami federal court against Aroldis Chapman, a left-handed pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. The lawsuit claims that Chapman falsely accused Danilo Curbelo Garcia of involvement in human trafficking, leading to his 2008 arrest and conviction in Cuba. Curbelo Garcia is serving a 10-year sentence.
Chapman defected in 2009 and was signed a year later by the Reds to a six-year, $30.25 million contract. The suit claims Chapman accused Curbelo Garcia to win favor with the Cuban government so he could rejoin its national baseball team and eventually travel overseas to stage his escape.
According to the suit, Chapman and his father testified at a trial that Curbelo Garcia had described an elaborate plan for the player to defect. Chapman claimed that Curbelo Garcia wanted to be paid a certain percentage once Chapman signed a baseball contract, the suit says.
The lawsuit was filed in South Florida because Chapman owns a home there and Curbelo Garcia's wife and daughter both live here.