A would-be agent facing criminal charges in the college basketball corruption case reportedly testified in court Wednesday that Creighton assistant coach Preston Murphy wasn’t bribed during a July 2017 meeting.
The two friends were actually trying to trick potential investors.
Defense attorneys suggested exactly that during court proceedings six days ago, as previously reported by The World-Herald. Defendant Christian Dawkins apparently confirmed it while under oath Wednesday.
Dawkins reportedly testified Wednesday that he and Murphy made up a fake Creighton player and then boasted about that prospect’s NBA potential as they sat with financial backers in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2017. Murphy received $6,000 that day, but he promptly gave the cash to Dawkins, according to reported testimony in court Wednesday.
Dawkins and Murphy are both from Saginaw, Michigan. They’ve known each other for a long time — it’s been described during the trial that they have a “close” relationship.
What Dawkins and Murphy didn’t realize at the time of the 2017 meeting was that they were talking with an undercover FBI agent and a government informant, who was posing as a financial adviser.
Federal authorities, who’d been investigating college basketball for almost two years, secretly recorded the hotel-room exchange. Video played inside the New York City courtroom last week showed Murphy receiving an envelope of cash and placing it in his pocket. Prosecutors alleged it was a $6,000 bribe.
But Murphy wasn’t charged with a crime. CU placed him on administrative leave in March.
The government has accused Dawkins and former Adidas employee Merl Code of bribery. They were starting a new sports agency — and their alleged scheme was to pay college coaches, who’d in turn use their influence over players to persuade them to eventually sign with Dawkins’ company.
Dawkins, on the other hand, reportedly testified Wednesday that he always thought it was a waste of money to attempt to bribe college coaches. But one of the investors urged him to try it, Dawkins said in court.
So instead, as a way to appease his business partner but also acquire more capital, Dawkins reportedly claimed that he enlisted the help of his coaching friends for a ruse.
During the 2017 meeting in Las Vegas, he and Murphy spoke about a fictitious player named Marcus Phillips, who was destined for the NBA and who fit the profile of a prospective client for Dawkins’ agency. An undercover FBI agent acting as an investor handed Murphy $6,000 cash to help lure Phillips to the firm.
Only “Phillips” was not real.
“He was just a random person we made up,” Dawkins said in court, according to Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel.
Right after the meeting, Murphy gave the $6,000 to Dawkins in the hotel lobby bathroom, according to testimony in Wetzel’s published report. Bank records, shown in court Wednesday, indicated that Dawkins deposited the money into his new company’s account, according to Wetzel’s report.
Dawkins will return to the witness stand to face cross examination Thursday.