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Webber Says He Will Fight Charges

September 11, 2002|Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Chris Webber proclaimed his innocence anew Tuesday as he vowed to fight charges that he lied to a federal grand jury in Detroit.

Ignoring the advice of his lawyers, Webber, a former University of Michigan basketball player who now plays for the Sacramento Kings, said he was speaking out because, "I wanted to show my supporters I am not running away from the situation. I will fight this case to the end, and I feel that I will be vindicated."

Webber was indicted Monday on charges he misrepresented his dealings with Ed Martin, a former Michigan booster who claims he lent the NBA star $280,000 while Webber was an amateur player. Martin also said he lent money to other Michigan basketball players, two of whom have admitted taking it.

"I did not lie to the grand jury," Webber said at the Kings' practice complex.

Webber, who led Michigan's Fab Five team to two NCAA title games, has repeatedly denied taking significant amounts of money from Martin. Webber was charged with obstruction of justice and making a false declaration before a grand jury, according to the FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Detroit.

The maximum penalty Webber faces on each charge is five years and a fine of $250,000.

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