Former Cubs player Ben Zobrist has shockingly dropped a lawsuit against his former pastor. He had been seeking $6 million in damages from Byron Yawn, alleging that Yawn defrauded his charity and claiming that Yawn had been engaged in an extramarital affair with his estranged wife Julianna.
The Chicago Tribune first reported Zobrist’s decision to drop the lawsuit, but no reason was given for Zobrist’s decision to end the litigation, but he apparently is free to refile the lawsuit at a later date.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Yawn’s attorney, Christopher Bellamy, told the Tribune. “I’m suspicious for their reasons but I’m optimistic that he’ll continue to do the right things.”
The couple is currently engaged in a divorce trial that was originally filed in May 2019, with a $30,000 retirement party that Julianna threw for Yawn in December 2018 serving as the “genesis.” At the party, Julianna and Yawn were “dancing ‘on’ each other in a provocative way that was very embarrassing to Ben,” per court documents.
Yawn served as a counselor for Ben Zobrist during his baseball career, with Zobrist confiding in the pastor about his struggles with “anxiety and depression,” according to the suit. Yawn allegedly began to “secretly pursue an intimate relationship” with Julianna, and began meeting her for sex in the spring of 2019.
Julianna Zobrist and Yawn allegedly used “burner phones” to help hide the relationship. Text messages sent from Ben Zobrist to Yawn during that time indicate that the former Cubs player was staying away from the team during spring training in 2019 to work on his marriage.
Zobrist took a four-month leave of absence from the Cubs in 2019 to resolve marital issues, losing $7.5 million of his $12 million salary, as a result.