Webber Reportedly Fails To Testify

Thursday, July 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) — Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber missed his appearance before a federal grand jury investigating gambling activities of ex-Michigan booster Ed Martin, a newspaper reported.

Webber, who played at Michigan, was supposed to testify Wednesday, but didn't show up, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday. Grand juries operate in secret, but the paper was told by a person familiar with the investigation that a subpoena was issued for Webber to testify Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Gina Vitrano said she couldn't comment on any matters involving a grand jury. Webber's attorney, L. Fallasha Erwin, was not available to comment Thursday morning.

A person who deliberately ignores a summons can be held in contempt of court and jailed.

Webber's father, Mayce Webber, testified before the grand jury last month.

Martin, 66, is accused of running a gambling ring at Detroit area auto plants.

Federal agents and Internal Revenue Service officials also are interested in whether Martin gave money and gifts to Michigan basketball players.

The NCAA could impose sanctions against the school under its extra benefits rule if it is proven that players took large sums of money from Martin and if Michigan coaches knew about gifts.

Martin had a long relationship with the Webbers, dating back to Chris Webber's time in junior high school, according to Michigan's 1997 internal investigation of Martin's involvement with the basketball program. Webber played the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons at Michigan before turning pro after his sophomore year.