Armed robbery related charges against NFL free agent DeAndre Baker were ALL dropped on Monday after the attorney representing his accusers was arrested for attempted extortion
Police say attorney William Dean initially demanded $1.5 million from Baker, but dropped that figure to $800,000 [$266,000 for each of his three clients]
New York Giants cut star cornerback DeAndre Baker, 23, in September following his offseason arrest for allegedly participating in an armed robbery at a house party in Miramar, Florida
Baker allegedly brandished a gun and instructed two individuals, including Seahawks player Quinton Dunbar, to start robbing people after losing money in a poker game
The NFL players along with their accomplices allegedly robbed other party attendees of $70,000 in cash and jewelry
Dunbar was arrested but not charged
Baker’s accusers Julius Lamar, Steven Compton and Tommy J. Hartshaw recanted testimony against Dunbar in October, amidst allegation of witness payoffs
The trio of accusers previously sued Baker for $100,000 following the incident, but his attorney said they are now planning to countersue all three
Armed robbery charges against former New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker were dropped on Monday after his accusers’ attorney was arrested for allegedly attempting to extort $1.5 million from the NFL free agent.
The Giants cut the 23-year-old Baker in September following his offseason arrest for allegedly participating in an armed robbery at a cookout in Miramar, Florida.
Witnesses told police that a fight broke out at a card table, at which point Baker allegedly ‘whipped out a semi-automatic firearm’ and instructed two individuals – including Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar – to start robbing people.
Baker, Dunbar, and their alleged accomplice were said to have stolen around $70,000 in cash and jewelry at the party. Dunbar was arrested but never charged with the crime due to lack of evidence. Witnesses recanted testimony against Dunbar back in May following his arrest, but neglected to drop their accusations against Baker at the time.
However, in October, witnesses did drop their allegations against Baker, his attorney confirmed t.
On Monday, an attorney representing three of the four alleged victims was arrested in Broward County (Florida) on extortion charges related to the case.
Investigators say attorney William Dean initially asked for $1.5 million from Baker, according to the New York Post, but dropped that figure to $800,000 ($266,000 for each client). In exchange for a bribe, Dean said his clients would stop cooperating with authorities or change their initial sworn statements, according to police.
Armed robbery charges against former New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker (left) were dropped on Monday after his accusers’ attorney was arrested for allegedly attempting to extort $1.5 million from the NFL free agent. William Dean (right), the attorney of three of the four men who accused Baker (left) of armed robbery in May, has been arrested in connection with an alleged extortion plot aimed at coaxing $1.5 million out of the NFL free agent
Dean told Baker’s attorney his clients would do ‘anything you want, so long as the money is right,’ per the report.
After Dean’s arrest, the Broward State Attorney’s Office told reporters that all charges against Baker were being dropped.
‘Subsequently the alleged victims and the known witnesses have become uncooperative and their credibility is inalterably tarnished,’ assistant state attorney Paul Valcore said in a statement.
Baker’s accusers Julius Lamar, Steven Compton and Tommy J. Hartshaw did recant testimony against him in October, saying he ‘did not directly or indirectly participate in any robbery or assist in a robbery at the scene or elsewhere,’ according to records obtained by ESPN.
Baker’s attorney, Brad Cohen, said multiple teams have reached out to Baker, inquiring about his services, but the free agent plans to do. The Giants have not been in contact with Baker, according to Cohen. The 30th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Baker did not take part in the Giants’ offseason program or attend training camp. He was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list on July 27 and formally charged on August 7 with four counts of robbery with a firearm stemming from the alleged incident on May 13.
He faced 10 years in prison if convicted.
Cohen is hopeful the NFL will remove Baker from the exempt list and ‘ allow him back into the league and so he can start playing again.’
The NFL released a statement Monday, stating that ‘Baker remains subject to discipline based on results’ of an internal investigation. He is eligible to be signed by any team, but that doesn’t mean he will be allowed to play if and when he does so.
Baker has earned over $9 million in salary, according to Spotrac.com.
The extortion allegation follows a previous bribery claim, in which several of the accusers allegedly received cash at attorney Michael Grieco’s office to change their testimony Monday’s news was not a surprise to Cohen.
‘I’ve been saying this from Day 1, that this was an extortion scheme and that DeAndre was the victim,’ Cohen, told NFL Network on Monday. ‘This event did not play out as they insinuated. And the case was dismissed.’
Dean’s alleged extortion plot follows a previous bribery claim, which appears to be unrelated to Dean’s extortion plot.
In September, the Miramar (Police Department released video purportedly showing the alleged victims receiving a payout to change their testimony against Baker’s alleged accomplice, Dunbar.
Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar was arrested, but never charged in the case
That alleged payoff appears to have taken place at the office of Michael Grieco, Dunbar’s attorney who has since withdrawn from the case amid accusations that he was involved in the bribe.
Police arrested Baker and Dunbar on May 16, but ultimately decided not to charge Dunbar, citing lack of evidence after witnesses changed testimony over his alleged involvement.
‘The football players were trying to offer us some money to go in and sign an affidavit,’ one of the alleged victims told police, according to a supplemental report in the case reviewed by the Daily Mail. ‘We finally agreed to $60,000 and that we would meet at a lawyer’s office in Brickell.’
Baker was also sued by Hartshaw, Lamar, and Compton for $100,000, but he plans to file a countersuit for civil extortion and fraud, according to Cohen.
NFL player DeAndre Baker and Quinton Dunbar were attending the cookout at The Grand Isle, a gated community in Miramar, Florida on May 13 when a fight broke out.
Baker allegedly pulled out a handgun, according to an arrest warrant.
Baker and other men began robbing people of thousands of dollars in cash, watches and other valuables, witnesses told police.
According to police reports, Baker allegedly robbed one victim of an Audemars Piguet watch, valued at $18,500, and $4,700 in cash, totaling $23,200 in damages. Another alleged victim claimed his $25,000 gold Hublot watch was stolen, along with $7,000 in cash, a passport, a bag, and a key to a Range Rover.
However, those witness statements have been recanted.
Media reports from July said authorities believe Dunbar and Baker took part in a $55,000 payoff to four alleged victims.
However, Baker’s attorney Bradford Cohen has maintained that his client refused the accusers, which is why Baker’s name was omitted when the ‘witnesses’ recanted their testimony against Dunbar on May 15.
Cohen also claimed he told the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the FBI that Baker was being extorted by the victims, who were threatening to go to gossip website TMZ with the allegation that both Baker and Dunbar stole thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry at gunpoint.
‘We received information from a third party that basically said if they don’t get paid, they were going to go to TMZ,’ said Cohen, as quoted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
‘We knew right away that this was extortion, and we weren’t going to be a part of that.’
Grieco is currently being investigated by the Florida Bar to determine if he had any role in the bribe.
‘There is no way he could not have seen this transaction,’ the warrant states.
The witnesses initially claimed Dunbar was involved, before recanting and saying that may not be the case.
Subsequently, police released video footage of an alleged payoff in the case which happened in Dunbar’s attorney’s office
In exchange for the alleged payoff, the four unidentified individuals signed affidavits recanting their initial statements against Dunbar, according to allegations contained in the warrant.
The alleged victims stated on May 15 version of their account that ‘any robbery or assault, with or without a firearm, did not involve Mr. Dunbar.’
Grieco since issued a statement denying the payoff. According to him, ‘Law enforcement, both local and federal, was advised from day one and beyond that the alleged ‘victims’ in this case were actively extorting Baker and Dunbar,’ Grieco said.
Dunbar took and passed a polygraph confirming that he did not participate or witness any robbery, according to his lawyer.
‘These men fabricated a robbery story after waiting an hour to call police and then immediately began contacting the players demanding money.
‘My office obtained accurate and truthful affidavits consistent with the independent witness and my client’s account.
These ‘victims’ are seasoned career criminals who have been arrested and/or convicted of crimes ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, to human trafficking, to filing a false police report, Grieco said.