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Strawberry Bargains for 3 Months in Prison : Jurisprudence: Outfielder will plead guilty to income tax evasion and do time after 1995 season.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Darryl Strawberry, under terms of a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s office, will plead guilty to one felony count of income tax evasion and spend three months in a federal prison after the 1995 season, baseball officials confirmed Friday.

Although there has been no official announcement, the San Francisco Giant outfielder, who formerly played with the Dodgers and New York Mets, also will be required to spend three months in a halfway house after serving his sentence, perform community service and pay a substantial fine. The maximum under federal sentencing guidelines is $250,000.

Details of the agreement first appeared in the New York Daily News.

In the culmination of a two-year investigation, Strawberry was charged on Dec. 8 with one count of conspiracy and two counts of evading taxes on $502,043 in income from card shows and private autograph signings from 1986 to 1990. His Los Angeles attorney, Martin Gelfand, could not be reached Friday, and agent Eric Goldschmidt, who was also indicted, declined comment.

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Officials said that Gelfand has asked Major League Baseball for written assurance that Strawberry won’t face additional disciplinary action for pleading guilty to a felony but has not been given it. Officials indicated, however, that he will not be penalized by baseball.

“This is between Strawberry and the government,” one official said.

Giant General Manager Bob Quinn refused comment, saying he has received no official notification regarding Strawberry’s status.

Marvin Smilon, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also declined comment but said motions on the case are expected to be heard in April or May.

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Strawberry, who faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison, could not be reached Friday. He signed with the Giants on June 19 after completing treatment for substance abuse at the Betty Ford Clinic and negotiating a $4.857-million settlement on the remainder of a $20.25-million contract he had signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in 1990.

The Giants guaranteed his services for 1995 by offering arbitration in November. The player and club recently exchanged salary figures, with Strawberry asking for $1.8 million and the Giants offering $750,000. Quinn said Friday that a hearing date has not been set, and that he has heard nothing from Goldschmidt since they exchanged figures.


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