Basketball

Dawkins sentenced for role in bribery scandal

NEW YORK — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced aspiring agent Christian Dawkins to one year and one day for each bribery charge, to be served concurrently, for his role in bribing college basketball assistant coaches to influence their players to sign with Dawkins’ new sports management company and certain financial advisers once they turned pro.

He was sentenced for two charges Thursday — bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Dawkins was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery on May 8 after three days of jury deliberation. He had originally been facing six total charges.

After Dawkins serves the six months he received in the first trial, he’ll serve Thursday’s sentence.

His attorney said they will appeal this case, and are already appealing the first case.

The United States Probation Office recommended a sentence of 12 months and one day. In the government’s sentencing memorandum, they also accused Dawkins of obstructing justice, saying he “clearly impeded his prosecution by giving false testimony at trial.”

Dawkins’ attorneys argued for no jail time, instead requesting supervised release, with “special conditions of home confinement and community service.”

“No term of imprisonment is necessary to deter Christian from committing crimes similar to those charges in this case, nor is a term of imprisonment necessary to achieve a just punishment for his actions, which he resides with daily,” his sentencing memorandum read.

Dawkins was accused of facilitating bribes to former assistant coaches Tony Bland (USC), Emanuel “Book” Richardson (Arizona) and Lamont Evans (South Carolina, Oklahoma State). Following the trial, Steve Haney, Dawkins’ attorney, said his client was found guilty of conspiring to bribe and bribing Evans, but found not guilty of the charges relating to Bland and Richardson.

Richardson and Evans were sentenced in June to three months of prison, while Bland received probation.

Haney argued in Dawkins’ sentencing memorandum that his client is far from the only person engaging in bribery and corruption in college basketball recruiting.

“Christian may be sentenced to prison for engaging in conduct that has been going on for decades without criminal sanction,” Haney wrote. “[I]n the vast majority of cases, NCAA rule-breaking, where detected, is handled outside the criminal justice system, almost always by the NCAA and in the instance of alleged bribery, never by the Federal Courts …

“[M]any of the other individuals that the Government knows participated in the exact same conduct as Christian Dawkins, and the co-Defendants, have not been, and apparently will not be criminally charged. Notwithstanding the terms of the current protective order, the Government is fully aware numerous Division I head basketball coaches engaged in the same conduct as charged in his case, but for some inexplicable reason were not charged.”

Dawkins was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in March to six months for his role in a pay-for-play scheme to steer recruits to Adidas-sponsored college basketball programs. The two other men convicted in last October’s trial, James Gatto and Merl Code, received sentences of nine and six months, respectively.

Code was also convicted in last May’s trial, with a jury finding him guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery. He was originally facing four total charges. Code will be sentenced on Friday. The Probation Office also recommended the same sentence for Code: 12 months and one day, to run consecutive to the sentences he and Dawkins received in the first trial.

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