TUCSON, Ariz. - The U.S. Department of Justice released transcripts and audio of the evidence that led to the firing and conviction of former University of Arizona assistant basketball coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson.
Richardson, who was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and sentenced June 6 to three months in prison, agreed to accept bribes in a scheme pitched to him by aspiring agent Christian Dawkins, the evidence shows.
In the recording, dated 9:09 a.m. June 20, 2017, Richardson apparently agrees to Dawkins' plan to coax basketball players into deals with a burgeoning management company.
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Richardson was accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes to coax Arizona players to make deals with businessmen after they turned pro.
Players such as Deandre Ayton, Rawle Alkins and Jahvon Quinerly come up in the conversation.
Ayton played one season at UA before he was drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. He now plays for the Phoenix Suns. Alkins played two years at UA and appeared in 10 games with the Chicago Bulls last season. Quinerly committed to the UA before withdrawing. He then enrolled at Villanova and transferred to Alabama.
"I think the play is you should tell them... how close we are, you helping me get Rawle this year," Dawkins tells Richardson. "And like, you need some funding to be able to not just sustain the Rawle situation, but because... but just [expletive] you need to be able -- you now, continue to build [expletive] what you doing. And in turn, everybody could win, basically."
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The investigation was part of the FBI's multi-year college basketball corruption investigation.
Richardson, who must surrender to authorities Thursday, will have two years of supervised release after his sentence.
Richardson was one of four NCAA men's basketball assistant coaches arrested and charged with fraud and corruption in 2017 following a federal investigation that began in 2015.
Since the investigation began, Arizona basketball's name has been brought up several times, with claims that Richardson, aspiring agent Christian Dawkins and head coach Sean Miller were involved in discussing paying potential recruits, including Ayton.
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On April 19, it was decided that Miller would not testify in the related bribery trial of Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code. Both were convicted on bribery conspiracy charges. Both Dawkins and Code were sentenced to six-month prison terms.
In the documents released by the DOJ, Richardson appears to corroborate Miller's assertion that he had nothing to do with the payment.
"Ayton is on campus. He's gonna clear like -- that's something, like right now, Sean's not -- Sean's gotta get the (expletive) out of the way and let us work," Richardson tells Dawkins while referring to Ayton.
Dawkins, though, says "Sean is taking care of Rawle and them. So it ain't no expense to Rawle. So, that's easy. Rawle already knows you gotta pay back... if he don't go with them. So we got no expenses there."
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Richardson apparently agreed to accept more money to influence Quinerly to take part in the deal Dawkins concocted.
"Because Quinerly, like I said, he gets on campus, he's supposed to commit this weekend," Richardson says. "So, you know, it's like - now would I be out of bound to try to get five from him?"
Dawkins replies that he "told them to have some money for you, to feel good about yourself."
Richardson also makes some comments that could be perceived to implicate Miller in a pay-for-play scheme.
"So we'll see Sean plays it out. You know what I'm saying? We'll see if he a man of his word. Because he brought it up to me," Dawkins says.
Richards: "Yeah, because he need help. You know what he bought per month?"
Dawkins: "What did he do?"
Richardson: "I told you, ten."
Dawkins: "Yeah, that's what I'm saying. He's putting up some real money for them (expletive). He told me he's getting killed."
Richardson: "Yeah. But that's his fault, because he doesn't want to play it any other way."