NEW YORK -- Defense attorneys made their closing arguments Monday in the second federal trial on college basketball corruption.
The jury received the case around 1:30 p.m. and began deliberations. There is no timetable on a potential verdict; the jury will return at 4 p.m. to provide an update on their deliberations.
Defendants Christian Dawkins, an aspiring sports agent, and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, face charges in relation to a scheme to bribe college basketball coaches to influence players to sign with their new agency. Dawkins and Code, along with former Adidas executive James Gatto, were convicted in October of federal criminal charges related to a pay-for-play scheme to steer recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools.
Dawkins' attorney, Steven Haney, focused primarily on multiple wiretap recordings during which Dawkins contends to Jeff D'Angelo, the pseudonym for an undercover FBI agent posing as an investor for Dawkins' agency, that paying college coaches is not the best way to get players.
Haney showed the jury a transcript of a conversation between Dawkins and D'Angelo, where D'Angelo says, "But here's the model. Like ... I'm funding you -- your side of the business and I'm staying out of your way. And you're gonna do that."
Haney called it the most important piece of evidence in the trial.
He also played a phone call between Dawkins and Code during which the two men discuss how D'Angelo's model doesn't make sense.
"At the end of the day, I always try to do stuff the right way," Dawkins said to Code on the call. "If they're not gonna listen, [expletive] take their money."
Haney then told the jury that he's never heard defendants on a wiretapped phone call "saying they're not going to do what they're charged with conspiring to do."
Mark Moore, one of Code's attorneys, insisted there is a lack of evidence regarding his client's role in the alleged conspiracy. Moore listed more than 15 potential pieces of reasonable doubt, including the fact that Code didn't attend any of the meetings where money changed hands and that there are no recordings of Code discussing money with coaches.
He also pointed out the government's two key witnesses were Marty Blazer and Munish Sood, two men who have already been convicted of crimes.
"Their testimony was bought and paid for by the government," Moore said.
Federal prosecutor Robert Boone gave the government's final rebuttal. Boone reiterated that wiretaps and video show the defendants either giving bribes or discussing giving bribes to college basketball coaches.
"It is painfully clear the defendants paid bribes," he said.
He said the ultimate goal of the conspiracy was "to get Loyd Management players."
Dawkins' disagreement with D'Angelo's plan to bribe coaches, Boone contended, wasn't indicative that Dawkins and Code had no interest in bribing coaches. It meant Dawkins just wanted to do it a different way.
"He wanted to pay college coaches, he just wanted to be smart about it," Boone said of Dawkins.