Payoffs, talk of Williamson highlight corruption trial

Jurors in the federal college basketball corruption trial on Thursday in New York saw a video that showed college coaches receiving cash and heard the story of a pair of shoes with $11,000 pushed into the toes sent to a college player.And they also heard the name of Zion Williamson, the Duke star freshman was last week declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and is the presumptive No. 1 pick.The video, which prosecutors said was shot in a Las Vegas hotel room in July 2017, showed coaches receiving the cash, or a promise of it in the future, in exchange for helping to influence some players to sign with certain advisers in the future.It backed up the testimony of government witness Marty Blazer, who took part in a discussion in the hotel room about the trouble schools had in competing for top players, specifically Williamson. Blazer was recorded as saying that certain schools “have people in place who will be able to pay for whatever is necessary” to sign Williamson, who chose Duke.Blazer also discussed buying a pair of shoes with money he eventually learned was given to him by an undercover FBI agent. The shoes wound up in the hands of aspiring agent Christian Dawkins, who put $11,000 in them and sent them to Robert Williams, who played for Texas A&M and now is with the Boston Celtics.Dawkins and former Adidas executive Merl Code are on trial for charges related to bribery.Also shown on video was Clemson assistant coach Steve Smith talking to Blazer, Dawkins and an undercover FBI agent about Williamson.”Me and his stepdad are going to work it out,” Smith said.

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