The late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was framed in the state’s investigation that blamed him for the boating accident that killed him and two others in 2016, his lawyer argued Monday.
Attorney Ralph Fernandez – who is not related to the former first-round pick – made the argument in a legal filing in Miami-Dade Circuit Court that investigators falsely determined that Fernandez was to blame for crashing his boat into a Miami Beach jetty on Sept. 25, 2016, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The Florida Wildlife Commission determined in March 2017 that Fernandez, Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, had all been drinking before the deadly wreck. Macias and Rivero’s estates are suiting Fernandez’s estate for $2 million apiece, according to the Miami Herald.
Ralph Fernandez argued that the investigation “was fraught with false statements of fact” and that officials “implicated practically unheard of destruction of evidence,” the Herald reported.
“From the inception the case agents decided that Jose Fernandez was the operator and that his blood alcohol level would support the imaginary charges sufficiently so they intentionally failed to consider any evidence provided to them that Jose Fernandez and Eduardo Rivero were the victims of foul play, the two of them unwitting recipients of a spiked drink or a mickey of sorts,” Ralph Fernandez stated, according to the newspaper.
The lawyer alleged that someone could have drugged Fernandez in a plan to steal from him. He reportedly wrote in his court filing that the only thing not recovered from the scene was $15,000 in cash, adding that “the missing $15,000 was evidence of involuntary ingestion of cocaine as part of a plot by someone trying to steal the money.” He also alleged that wildlife officials too quickly dismissed the notion of “involuntary” cocaine ingestion.
“Like a house of cards, this whole case is compromised,” the attorney wrote.
Chris Royer of Krupnick Campbell – a law firm representing Macias and Rivero’s estates – told the Sun-Sentinel that Ralph Fernandez has to admit “there is no evidence whatsoever to support his contention that Emilio Macias or Eduardo Rivero was operating the vessel at the time of the accident.”
“All of the evidence to date is that Jose Fernandez was operating the vessel. In order to protect all of the families involved in this matter, including that of Jose Fernandez, we are not going to comment on any specific aspect of the discovery taken to date and will continue to abide by the court's confidentiality rulings,” he told the newspaper.
The Florida Wildlife Commission declined to comment on the allegations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.