(CN) — Florida prosecutors have dropped armed robbery charges against NFL cornerback DeAndre Baker, saying their case against him was sullied when counsel for three alleged victims tried to secure a payoff for doctored testimony.
The Broward County State Attorney's Office said Monday that the alleged victims, who accused Baker and his associates of robbing them during a high-stakes gambling session, "have become uncooperative" and that "their credibility is inalterably tarnished."
All four counts of robbery with a firearm have been dropped in Baker's criminal case. The former New York Giants cornerback faces no further charges.
Attorney William Dean, meanwhile, was arrested Monday, accused of soliciting payoffs for the three alleged victims to stand down in the criminal case. Dean is civil counsel for the men – Tommy Hartshaw, Julius Lamar and Steven Compton – in a lawsuit over the alleged robbery.
According to investigators, Dean "wanted Baker to pay each of his clients more than $266,000," and in exchange they "would either stop cooperating with prosecutors in the criminal case or change their initial sworn statements to police,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
Dean, a prominent nursing-home negligence lawyer in Miami, has not responded to a request for comment. Before establishing his firm, he worked as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, handling violent felonies and drug-trafficking cases, according to his firm profile.
The attorney is facing a charge of extortion in Broward County court.
Prior to prosecutors' decision to drop the robbery case, Baker's defense team had moved to have a fourth alleged victim held in contempt for not showing up for a deposition in St. Louis.
Baker's lawyers claimed the no-show, nicknamed "Pimpin' Sam," was using a false alias in court proceedings and was part of an "illegal gaming operation" that draws young, wealthy athletes into high-stakes dice games, where "loaded dice" are used to swindle them out of money.
Baker, selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Giants, was released from the team amid controversy surrounding his arrest. He is currently listed as a free agent.
According to a New York Daily News report, the alleged robbery victims told police they feared for their lives, believing that if they moved forward with testifying against Baker, they would be harmed or killed.
In the police report, the men stated that Baker brandished a gun at them and pilfered their valuables during a high-stakes gambling session at a home in Miramar, Florida, on May 13.
Court documents stated that Baker and his associates had allegedly become angry over their gambling losses, proclaiming that there was cheating going on. The burgeoning NFL star and a masked man proceeded to hold partygoers at gunpoint and relieve them of thousands of dollars in cash and some pricey watches, including a Hublot valued at $25,000, witnesses said.
Baker's crew supposedly made off in a Lamborghini and two other luxury vehicles after collecting the valuables.
According to the police report, one witness said that the day before the incident, Baker had lost $70,000 at another high-stakes gambling party nearby, attended by some of the same men who were at the Miramar house party.
Quinton Dunbar, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, was with Baker during the Miramar incident, court documents state. Dunbar was initally arrested in relation to the incident but never subject to any criminal charges in the case.
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