N.C.A.A. Basketball Trial: Guilty Verdicts on Bribery Conspiracy

A prospective agent and a former shoe company consultant were convicted Wednesday of conspiring to commit bribery in the final major case to go to trial as part of a vast federal investigation into college basketball recruiting practices.

Like the case itself, the judgment against the would-be agent, Christian Dawkins, and the former Adidas employee, Merl Code Jr., fell short of the clear outcome prosecutors had hoped to achieve. Dawkins was convicted on only two of six counts he faced, and Code on one of four.

Dawkins and Code were convicted last year of fraud in a separate trial. Both have been sentenced to six months in prison, a term they are appealing.

It was unclear if they would appeal the verdict in the current case.

In it, Dawkins and Code were accused of scheming to pay college basketball coaches in exchange for their help in funneling players with N.B.A. prospects to their nascent sports agency. And though they were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery (Dawkins was guilty on two counts), they were found not guilty of wire fraud, which suggested that the jury disagreed with the government’s contention that the universities that employed the coaches who received money were victims. Dawkins and Code were also acquitted of travel act conspiracy.

Merl Code in October 2018.CreditBebeto Matthews/Associated Press

“Any time you beat the federal government on seven of 10 counts, that’s a win,” Dawkins said outside the courthouse. “This case was manufactured and made up.”

Code was equally defiant.

“I didn’t bribe anybody,” he said, fighting back tears as he pushed his young son’s stroller into an elevator at the Moynihan United States Courthouse in Lower Manhattan. “There was no evidence at any time.”

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