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Canseco arrested on charge of beating wife

November 6, 1997 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ Five years after a violent confrontation with his first wife, Jose Canseco was arrested Thursday and charged with beating his second wife.

Police charged the 33-year-old Oakland Athletics outfielder with battery for hitting his wife, Jessica, during an argument in a friend’s car in Miami at 2:30 a.m.

Canseco was released from the Dade County Jail after posting a $2,000 bond. Under Florida law, those arrested on domestic violence charges are automatically jailed until appearing before a judge.

If convicted, Canseco could be sentenced to up to one year in jail.

His lawyer, Louis Hillman, confirmed the couple are in the process of getting a divorce.

Hillman said the Cuban-born Canseco preferred to post bond, rather than agree to perform community service and undergo counseling, ``because he goes out of state a lot on charity affairs.″

In the 1992 altercation with his first wife, Esther, Canseco was accused of aggravated assault for ramming his car into her new car. The prosecution dropped the charges after Canseco agreed to community service and counseling.

On Thursday, Dade County Judge Mark King Leban ordered the baseball star to keep away from his current wife, who told prosecutors she was terrified of Canseco.

Assistant State Attorney Karen Anderson said Jessica Canseco wants her husband to stay away from her and the couple’s infant daughter, who turned 1 year old on Wednesday. His wife asked that any visits by Canseco be supervised.

In granting the order, Liban warned Canseco that any attempt at contact could result in a second charge punishable by up to a year in jail.

The judge told Canseco the order means ``no contact whatsoever _ no flowers, no faxes, no notes, no telephone calls.″

As is usual practice in Dade County, Canseco did not appear in court but followed the proceedings via closed-circuit television while still inside the jail next door.

According to Miami police, Canseco and his wife got into an argument as they were returning from their daughter’s birthday party. They were both passengers in a car driven by a friend.

``It turned violent ... Mr. Canseco grabbed Mrs. Canseco by the hair, then hit her a few times,″ said police Lt. Bill Schwartz.

Canseco, sitting in the back seat, reached forward to his wife, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and grabbed her by the hair, then slapped her in the face and the back of the head, police said.

According to the arrest report, Canseco ``stated that he and his wife were arguing. During the argument, he grabbed her by the hair to get her attention. Defendant denied striking her.″

Once back home, Mrs. Canseco, who had a bruise under her left eye, called police. The friend, who was driving, backed up her account of the incident.

Canseco, who filed for free agency last week, hit 23 home runs and had 74 runs batted in.