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Former Royal Ben Zobrist drops lawsuit against pastor

Former Kansas City Royals player and devout Christian Ben Zobrist has dropped his lawsuit against his former pastor, Byron Yawn, amid allegations of an affair between the former Tennessee pastor and marital counselor and Zobrist’s estranged wife, Julianna.

Zobrist, who played in the major leagues from 2006 to 2019, sued the former minister for $6 million in damages, claiming he defrauded his charitable foundation and had an affair with his wife of 14 years. He accused his wife of “inappropriate marital conduct.” However, according to new court documents obtained by the “Chicago Tribune,” the complaint was withdrawn.

The notice was filed in Nashville Circuit Court by attorney Larry Crain and stated that Zobrist voluntarily withdrew the claim. The notice is “without prejudice” and makes way for the athlete to refile the lawsuit within a year if he so chooses.

Yawn’s attorney, Christopher Bellamy, told the newspaper that Zobrist’s withdrawal is “a step in the right direction. I’m suspicious for their reasons, but I’m optimistic that he’ll continue to do the right things.”

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The couple separately filed for divorce in 2019. Ben Zobrist filed the lawsuit against Yawn on May 6. In the complaint, Zobrist claimed that Yawn fraudulently collected a $3,500-per-month salary after being dismissed as head of Zobrist’s charity foundation Patriot Forward. Zobrist had sought $6 million in punitive and compensatory damages through a jury trial.

While his marriage was falling apart, Zobrist took a leave of absence from baseball and later retired after the 2019 season. During that time, he sought marital counseling from Yawn in an attempt to restore the marriage. Julianna Zobrist is suing her husband, alleging that he failed to protect family assets by taking time off from his job as a player for the Chicago Cubs to try to fix the marriage.

The Zobrists got married in 2005 and first met when Julianna Zobrist was 16 through her sister’s husband, who was Ben Zobrist’s teammate at Olivet Nazarene University. The couple didn’t start dating until she was in college at Belmont University.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice