Robbery charges against former New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker are being dropped after the lawyer for three of the alleged victims was arrested for extortion.
Baker, 23, was accused of robbing a Miami-area party in May along with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Baker was charged with four counts of armed robbery while Dunbar escaped any criminal charges.
The lawyer for three of the alleged victims, William Dean, was arrested Monday on extortion charges relating to the robbery.
According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Dean was allegedly trying to extort Baker out of nearly $800,000. In exchange, Dean would coach his clients to weaken the case against him.
ESPN reported Friday that three of the four alleged robbery victims had recanted their earlier statements in which they testified that Baker and Dunbar had robbed them.
Julius Lamar, Steven Compton and Tommy J. Hartshaw said in sworn statements that Baker “did not directly or indirectly participate in any robbery or assist in a robbery at the scene or elsewhere.” The three men added that they didn't see Baker rob or assault anyone with or without a firearm.
In a statement released by the Broward State Attorney’s Office, assistant state attorney Paul R. Valcore said that the charges against Baker were being dropped after “the alleged victims and the known witnesses have become uncooperative and their credibility is inalterably tarnished.”
The alleged (and possibly non-existent) robbery happened at a party in the Miami area, the night after Baker and Dunbar supposedly lost $70,000 playing cards at a different party. Four men accused Baker of brandishing a gun and directing Dunbar and a third person to collect valuables from them.
Baker and Dunbar surrendered to police in mid-May and both were placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list in July. Baker was charged with four counts of armed robbery in August while Dunbar was not charged with anything due to insufficient evidence. The Giants released Baker in September.
It appears now that no robbery took place. The incident was concocted as part of an alleged scheme to extort money from a professional football player.
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