Braves’ Marcell Ozuna enters pretrial diversion program, could have domestic violence charges dropped

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Fulton County deputy district attorney Simone Hylton announced Thursday that charges against Braves All-Star Marcell Ozuna—who hasn’t seen the field since his domestic violence arrest in May—will be dropped if the outfielder meets all conditions of his pretrial diversion program.

Ozuna, who led the National League in both home runs (19) and RBI (60) during last year’s COVID-abbreviated 2020 campaign, has been placed on six months supervision and will also be subject to a 24-week family violence intervention program (including anger management courses and a psychological assessment) and 200 hours of community service. During this probationary period, the 30-year-old Dominican Republic native is prohibited from contacting his estranged wife (who he allegedly assaulted at his Sandy Springs home on May 29th) and must also refrain from using illegal drugs. Per Shaddi Abusaid of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ozuna’s court-mandated supervision could be reduced to three months if he completes his intervention program and community service early.

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“Hopefully once it’s completed, I won’t see you again,” Magistrate Judge Brandy Brooks relayed to Ozuna over Zoom during Thursday’s virtual hearing. Ozuna, who was injured at the time of his arrest, had been facing misdemeanors for family violence battery and simple assault, though the most serious charge—felony aggravated assault strangulation—had already been dropped. Even in the absence of formal charges (assuming he meets the conditions of his diversion program), Ozuna will almost certainly face a suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy.

A two-time All-Star and former Gold Glove recipient, Ozuna opted to remain with Atlanta on a four-year, $64-million contract this past offseason. His replacement in left field, Adam Duvall, has been superb, contributing 11 homers and 30 RBI since his arrival at the trade deadline. Ozuna was off to a slow start before breaking his finger sliding into third base against the Red Sox on May 25th, submitting a tepid .213/.288/.356 slash line with seven homers in 188 at-bats. His next court appearance is scheduled for January 13th.

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