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Marty Blazer testified that he paid football players from seven schools, including Alabama and Michigan, to persuade them to hire him as a financial advisor.

By Charlotte Carroll
April 23, 2019

Witness Louis Martin Blazer said he paid football players from Pitt, Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Northwestern, North Carolina and Alabama, according to reporters present at the Manhattan federal court for the opening day of the second college basketball bribery trial.

As recounted by CBS's Matt Norlander and reporter Adam Zagoria, Blazer said he paid athletes from multiple hundred to several thousand dollars. Blazer said he paid family members and associates of the athletes so they would choose him as their financial advisor upon turning pro. He testified he never paid a college football coach.

Blazer went into more specifics with Penn State and UNC. He testified that, at the encouragement of an assistant, he paid the father of former Penn State player Aaron Maybin to convince him to stay in school. Maybin went to the NFL and the money was repaid.

According to Yahoo Sports, the only person on staff at the time who fits the description is Larry Johnson Sr. who is now at Ohio State and whose son was a NFL running back. But Johnson denied this. 

"That is not accurate at all," Johnson Sr. told Yahoo Sports. "That is absolutely false. I would never, ever ask anybody to do that. That is not me."

Johnson Sr. did acknowledge Blazer represented his son in the NFL, but he no business ties with him.

In regards to UNC, Blazer said he paid money to a former first-round pick who was drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. New York took Hakeem Nicks with the No. 29 pick that year.

Blazer has previously pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of lying to the SEC and one count of aggravated identify theft. He faces 67 years in prison and is now cooperating with the goverment's investigation into college basketball recruiting and bribery practices.

Opening statements were Tuesday for the trial of business manager Christian Dawkins and ex-amateur league director Merl Code. The trial is the second of three resulting from arrests made 19 months ago, when prosecutors described a widespread bribery scheme in which financial advisers and business managers allegedly paid assistant coaches and athletes' families to steer players to big-program schools.

According to Norlander, Blazer connected with Dawkins in 2015 when Dawkins was looking for help with securing prospects.

Testimony in a trial projected to last two weeks is expected to center on bribes paid to Lamont Evans, an assistant coach at South Carolina and later Oklahoma State; Emmanuel “Book” Richardson, an assistant coach at Arizona; and Tony Bland, an assistant coach at USC. The now ex-coaches have pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing. One more ex-assistant coach from Auburn is scheduled for trial in June.

Code and Dawkins already were convicted in October on similar charges and were each sentenced to six months in prison. This time, the focus is on bribes to coaches instead of players' families.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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