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Lugo cleared of phone card scam

The lawsuit against several major-league players from the Dominican Republic, including Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo, over an alleged phone card scam has been dismissed.

A ruling in United States District Court in New York said the $35-million lawsuit, that also named as defendants Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez and Yankees pitcher Octavio Dotel, was dismissed because the "plantiffs' jurisdictional allegations are patently defective."

"We had nothing to do with it," Lugo said. "It's over with."

The lawsuit was filed in December by New York attorney Salvador Delgado on behalf of convenience store owners who said they unknowingly sold the cards that allegedly shortchanged users and were promoted by the players.

Delgado said at the time that most of the cards were bought by Dominicans who used them to call home. He did not respond to several phone messages.

Lugo said the players lent their names to the promotion as a favor for a friend and were not paid.

"It was annoying," Lugo said of the accusations of wrongdoing, "especially knowing we had nothing to do with it."

- DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times staff writer

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

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