ST. LOUIS -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement on Tuesday regarding Christopher Correa's lack of cooperation during MLB's investigation in response to claims by the former Cardinals scouting director that the Office of the Commissioner "was unresponsive" when he volunteered to meet with them about his involvement in illegally accessing the Astros' computer system.
The statements come a day after MLB announced that its investigation had confirmed the findings from an earlier investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that Correa acted alone in entering Houston's database multiple times from 2013-14. MLB punished the Cardinals for Correa's actions by requiring that they give the Astros $2 million and their first two picks (Nos. 56 and 75 overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft.
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Manfred explained MLB's decision not to meet with Correa in the spring of 2015, saying that the Office of the Commissioner wanted to wait until after ongoing investigations were complete and MLB had a chance to begin its own investigation.
"The Office of the Commissioner made the decision in the spring of 2015 for sound legal reasons to defer its investigation of the incursions into the Astros' systems, including interviewing Mr. Correa and witnesses, as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas," Commissioner Manfred said in a statement. "Mr. Correa and potential witnesses were informed of our decision to defer our investigation until the government completed its investigation and any criminal charges against Mr. Correa were adjudicated.
"Upon the conclusion of the federal investigation, during July and August 2016, the Department of Investigations repeatedly requested Mr. Correa's cooperation through his attorney. On July 21, 2016, Mr. Correa was informed directly that he would be placed on the permanently ineligible list if he did not cooperate with the Department of Investigations. Mr. Correa not only steadfastly refused to answer any questions, but also opposed the release of any documents by the government to the Office of the Commissioner. On August 23, 2016, Mr. Correa's attorney told the Department of Investigations that Mr. Correa was not interested in 'providing any information directly or indirectly to MLB.'"
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Correa, who pled guilty to five criminal counts of unauthorized access in January 2016, is currently serving a 46-month sentence in prison.
"In 2015, I admitted to unauthorized computer access and volunteered to meet with the Commissioner to answer any questions and share my concerns about intellectual property theft," Correa said in a Twitter statement posted by his representative on Tuesday morning. "In May, I offered to fly to New York. In June, I suggested a meeting during his visit to Busch Stadium. The Commissioner was unresponsive."
Correa went on to claim that the Astros accessed and utilized proprietary data of the Cardinals -- a claim he also made when entering his guilty plea last year. At that time, the district court judge rejected a request by Correa's lawyers to subpoena additional information from the Astros. None of the investigations conducted uncovered evidence to support Correa's claim on this matter.
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"The Department of Investigations was not provided evidence to substantiate the other allegations contained in Mr. Correa's letter, but remains willing to meet with Mr. Correa at any time," the Commissioner said in concluding his statement.