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Bush wants to settle, lawyer says

October 23, 2008|David Wharton | Wharton is a Times staff writer.

The new attorney for Reggie Bush said Wednesday that the former USC tailback hopes to settle a long and contentious civil lawsuit filed against him by would-be sports marketer Lloyd Lake.

"From our standpoint this lawsuit is an unnecessary distraction for Mr. Bush," attorney Shawn Chapman Holley said. "If we can quickly reach a compromise with Mr. Lake's attorney, which will eliminate this distraction and allow Mr. Bush to focus on his football career, we would certainly like to try to do so."

An out-of-court settlement could affect NCAA investigators who want to know whether Bush received cash and gifts from Lake and his former partner, Michael Michaels, while in college.

If proved, such improper benefits would be a violation and USC could have to forfeit past victories.

But if the case is settled before a trial or even pretrial depositions, investigators won't have potentially valuable evidence resulting from sworn testimony.

Bush, now with the New Orleans Saints, has said he did nothing wrong.

At the very least, Holley's comments represented a change in tenor for a dispute that has dragged on more than two years. Bush's previous attorney, David Cornwell, rarely spoke of settling as mediation attempts failed on several occasions.

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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