College basketball will again be the focus in a New York federal courtroom as the second of three trials related to corruption in the sport begins on Monday.
One of the defense attorneys involved in next week's federal criminal trial related to college basketball corruption has promised to "pull back the curtains" on the sport's ugly underworld.
Christian Dawkins, a former runner for NBA agent Andy Miller, and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, are charged with allegedly bribing five assistant coaches from six universities to influence their players to sign with Dawkins' fledgling sports management business and certain financial advisers once they turned pro.
In a Friday pretrial ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos granted a federal prosecutors' motion precluding Arizona coach Sean Miller and LSU coach Will Wade from testifying. Steven Haney, attorney for former agent-runner Christian Dawkins, had subpoenaed Miller and Wade arguing that wiretap evidence would show Dawkins' intent while also showing signs of "systematic cheating at the highest level."
"The evidence establishes very clearly that Sean Miller is paying players at Arizona," Haney said during Friday morning's hearing.
Here's everything you need to know about the trial, individuals and schools in United States of America v. Merl Code and Christian Dawkins:
What are the charges in this trial?
Dawkins and Code are each charged with four felony counts related to bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy. Dawkins is also charged with two counts of honest services wire fraud related to him allegedly bribing an assistant coach while he worked at South Carolina and Oklahoma State and another assistant at Arizona.
Who are the assistant coaches implicated?
Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans and USC's Tony Bland have already pleaded guilty to federal bribery conspiracy charges and will be sentenced after the upcoming trial. Evans worked at South Carolina before Oklahoma State.
Two other assistant coaches, Creighton's Preston Murphy and TCU's Corey Barker, are also accused of accepting bribes but haven't been charged in the case.
With an LSU coach not charged in this trial, why was Will Wade subpoenaed?
Defense attorneys want to argue to the jury that the defendants also had relationships with head coaches and didn't attempt to bribe them. By eliciting testimony from the subpoenaed coaches or introducing evidence that shows they broke NCAA rules by paying players, as the government motion suggested, defense attorneys would argue the head coaches have the most influence over their players, and Code and Dawkins didn't bribe them.
Will the undercover FBI agents testify?
Defense attorneys had hoped to subpoena two undercover FBI agents -- known to the co-defendants and others by the pseudonyms "Jill Bailey" and "Jeff De'Angelo" -- who posed as potential investors in Dawkins' sports management company.
But motions filed by defense attorneys this week indicated that the agents might not testify during the trial. In a request to charge sent to the judge on Wednesday, in which attorneys made requests to be included in the judge's instructions to the jury, defense attorneys wrote:
"The government failed to produce UC-1 for trial. UC-1 is an undercover agent known to witnesses by the false name 'Jeff D'Angelo.' UC-1 is employed by the government and is extensively under their control. Further the government actively obstructed the defendants' attempts to subpoena UC-1 for trial.
"In light of these circumstances, you are permitted to infer that UC-1's testimony would have been harmful to the government's case and would have been helpful for the defendants'."
What is the expected argument from the defense?
Defense attorneys are expected to argue that former financial adviser Marty Blazer, a cooperating witness, and undercover FBI agents entrapped Code and Dawkins into bribing the assistants by threatening to withhold funding for Dawkins' business if they didn't make the payments.
"The Government's own undercover agents and cooperating witness solicited Mr. Dawkins' involvement in a conspiracy they devised to pay bribes to college basketball coaches," defense lawyers wrote in a motion last week.
"They then paid him $50,000.00 to do what he was told and not ask questions."
Federal prosecutors have argued that Dawkins was already bribing Evans before he was introduced to Blazer and the undercover FBI agents.
What happened in the first trial and how is this one different?
In October, a jury convicted Code, Dawkins and former Adidas executive James Gatto of conspiracy and fraud charges in the first federal case involving a pay-for-play scheme to send top recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State. A judge sentenced Code and Dawkins to six months, and Gatto to nine months in federal prison.
Next week's case involves Code and Dawkins allegedly bribing assistant coaches to influence their players.
Which universities are involved?
Arizona: Former Wildcats assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson is one of the three former assistant coaches accused of accepting bribes. In January, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and faces up to 18 to 24 months in prison.
Richardson, who followed Sean Miller from Xavier to Arizona, admitted to accepting $20,000 in bribes. Richardson said he planned to use $15,000 to entice a high-profile prospect to sign with the Wildcats.
During the October federal trial, Brian Bowen Sr., the father of 2017 top prospect Brian Bowen Jr., testified that Dawkins told him that former Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack offered $50,000 for his son to sign with the Wildcats. Pasternack is now head coach at UC Santa Barbara.
Michael Schachter, one of Gatto's attorneys in the October trial, also told a jury that Arizona had offered or was prepared to offer $150,000 for top 2018 recruit Nassir Little to sign with the Wildcats. Little ended up signing with North Carolina; he and his family have denied knowledge of the alleged Arizona offer.
In a business plan that Dawkins emailed to his partners on Sept. 5, 2017, which was part of the evidence in the first trial, he detailed payments he wanted to make to former Arizona guard Rawle Alkins and his cousin, Rodney Labossiere, who was living in Tucson, Arizona.
Dawkins wrote that he planned to pay Alkins $2,500 per month from September 2017 through April 2018, while he was still playing for the Wildcats, plus $30,000 in travel expenses for his family. He also wanted to give Labossiere a four-year deal to work as a manager for his fledgling company.
Additionally, former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testified during the October trial that he gave $15,000 to a family friend of former Arizona center Deandre Ayton in an effort to steer him toward Kansas.
Creighton: The Bluejays put assistant coach Preston Murphy on administrative leave in early March, after the federal government accused him of accepting a $6,000 bribe during a meeting with Dawkins and others in a hotel room in Las Vegas in July 2017. Federal prosecutors have not charged Murphy with a crime. He is identified as "Coach-1" in a superseding indictment.
Murphy, who grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and is one of Dawkins' close friends, was recruiting Bowen for the Bluejays. During the October trial, Bowen Sr. testified that Dawkins brokered a deal through Murphy that would have provided the father $100,000 and a "good job, a lucrative job" if the son signed with Creighton.
In October, Outside the Lines reported that an analysis of Dawkins' cellphone records revealed at least nine calls with Creighton coach Greg McDermott's number between May 8, 2017 and June 1, 2017, when Bowen committed to play at Louisville. Dawkins had 59 calls with Murphy's cellphone number during that time.
Oklahoma State: Former Cowboys associate head coach Lamont Evans pleaded guilty in January to a federal conspiracy bribery charge after admitting he received $22,000 in bribes to steer players toward Dawkins' management company, financial adviser Munish Sood and Blazer..
The government contends that Evans arranged for Blazer to meet with an OSU player in February 2017.
In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Evans faces no more than two years in prison. A federal judge warned Evans, a native of Barbados, that he might be deported after pleading guilty to a felony.
Bowen Sr. previously testified that Dawkins told him that Oklahoma State offered $150,000, along with additional help in buying a car and home if his son signed with the the Cowboys.
South Carolina: Federal prosecutors have also accused Evans of accepting bribes from Blazer and Sood while he was an assistant coach for the Gamecocks in 2016. The government contends Dawkins introduced Evans to them.
The government said Evans arranged a meeting in the spring of 2017 between a South Carolina player's mother and Sood "for the purpose of influencing the mother to retain Sood."
Haney is expected to argue that Dawkins didn't bribe Evans, but instead used him as a "vehicle to deliver payments to the family of a student-athlete who was, at that time, a student-athlete on the University of South Carolina's basketball team," according to a motion filed last week. Sources told ESPN that the player is PJ Dozier, who is now a point guard with the Boston Celtics.
TCU: The Horned Frogs put assistant coach Corey Barker on administrative leave in early March after he was identified as "Coach-2" in the superseding indictment. Like Murphy, Barker is accused of accepting $6,000 in a Las Vegas hotel room in July 2017 during a meeting that was arranged by Code, according to the government.
The indictment said Dawkins and Barker spoke by phone on Sept. 16, 2017, in which they discussed Dawkins meeting current TCU players once practices started. They discussed a player who was likely to be drafted by an NBA team, and Barker allegedly said it would be a "layup" for Dawkins to sign the player as a client.
USC: Former Trojans assistant coach Tony Bland pleaded guilty in early January to conspiracy to commit bribery and admitted he accepted $4,100 in bribes to steer players to certain financial advisers and business managers once they turned pro.
Bland was accused of accepting cash after a July 2017 meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room, and of facilitating meetings between Dawkins, Sood and an undercover FBI agent with the associate of a then-USC player and the family member of an incoming freshman.
Who are the potential witnesses?
Marty Blazer: In May 2016, Blazer, a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with wire fraud and accused of siphoning $2.35 million from the accounts of several professional athletes to invest in movie projects and make Ponzi-like payments. According to the SEC's complaint, when its examiners uncovered the unauthorized withdrawals and asked Blazer to explain them, he lied and produced falsified documents in an attempt to hide his misconduct.
In August 2017, the SEC ordered Blazer to make restitution of $1.8 million and to pay a civil penalty of $150,000. The commission had barred him from the industry in May 2016. Blazer also faces sentencing on criminal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and making false statements and documents. The charges typically carry a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, but combined could total a maximum 67 years.
Blazer also agreed to one other condition as part of his plea agreement: He became a cooperating witness for the FBI, providing information that sparked the investigation into college basketball corruption.
Munish Sood: Sood, a financial adviser and the CEO and chief investment officer of Princeton Advisory Group in New Jersey, was among the 10 men arrested by federal agents in September 2017. He was never formally charged, leading many people involved in the case to believe that he was cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In August 2018, Sood pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services fraud and travel act offenses; payments of bribes to an agent of a federally funded organization; and wire fraud conspiracy.
Sood testified at the October federal trial in New York.
Who are the attorneys?
Merl Code Sr.: One of the co-defendants' fathers, Code Sr. was the first African American to serve as a municipal court judge in Greenville, South Carolina. He played football at North Carolina A&T and played five seasons in the Canadian Football League and two in the World Football League.
Steven Haney: Dawkins' lead counsel is a former prosecutor and assistant attorney general in Michigan. Haney played college basketball at San Jose State in the late 1980s and represented Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins as an NBA agent. He is also a former AAU coach and director.
Eli Mark: Mark has been an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York since 2014. He graduated cum laude from Penn and attended law school at the University of California, Hastings. He was part of the prosecution team that secured convictions against Code and Dawkins in October.
Mark Moore: A former state and federal prosecutor, Moore and another attorney from the Nexsen Pruet firm in Greenville, South Carolina, are part of Code's defense. Moore was a prosecutor in South Carolina for more than 25 years.
Noah Solowiejczyk: An assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, Solowiejczyk was part of the prosecution team that secured convictions against Code and Dawkins in October.
Who is the judge?
Edgardo Ramos: Ramos, 59, was born in Puerto Rico and attended Yale and Harvard Law School. A former assistant U.S. attorney, he was nominated as U.S. district court judge to the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama in 2011. He also served as a commissioner on the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption.