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Kings' Webber indicted for lying to grand jury

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2002

DETROIT -- Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber was indicted Monday on charges he lied to a grand jury about his dealings with a University of Michigan basketball booster more than a decade ago.

Webber, who led Michigan's ''Fab Five'' team to two NCAA title games, was charged with obstruction of justice and making a false declaration before a grand jury, FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney said.

Webber's father, Mayce Webber, and his aunt, Charlene Johnson, were indicted on the same charges.

If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The indictment contends that Webber, his father and aunt lied to the grand jury and conspired to conceal the cash, checks, clothing, jewelry and other benefits that booster Ed Martin gave the player and his family from 1988-93. All three testified in 2000.

The Kings and a league spokesman each refused to comment on the indictment. Messages seeking comment from the elder Webber and Johnson were not immediately returned.

NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro said Monday night that the college governing body would not comment on the indictment. ''We just don't talk about infraction cases,'' Renfro said.

After Martin's indictment, Webber publicly denied taking significant amounts of money from him and said the government's charges were inaccurate. Martin pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to launder money.

Martin admitted he took gambling money, mixed it with earned income and money given to him from another person, then loaned it to at least four players while they were amateurs.

Martin said he paid $280,000 to Webber; $160,000 to Robert Traylor, now with the New Orleans Hornets; $105,000 to Maurice Taylor, now with the Houston Rockets; and $71,000 to Louis Bullock, who has been playing professionally in Europe.

Traylor and Bullock admitted receiving the money in testimony to the grand jury, their attorney, Steve Fishman, has said.

Former Michigan guard Jalen Rose, now with the Chicago Bulls, also said in May that he took ''pocket money'' from Martin.

Webber, a 29-year-old four-time All-Star, was the first pick in the 1993 NBA draft and was rookie of the year with Golden State. He starred at Washington before being traded to the Kings.

Webber led Sacramento to the Western Conference finals, where the Kings were eliminated in Game 7 by the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.



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