Former Michigan Players Subpoenaed

Thursday, May 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) — At least two former University of Michigan basketball players have been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury probing a former booster's alleged links to illegal gambling, their attorney says.

Steven Fishman said Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock have been subpoenaed to testify. He said they cooperated fully when interviewed several months ago by federal agents investigating Ed Martin.

Fishman declined to specify when Traylor and Bullock could testify or why they had been subpoenaed, saying ``it doesn't mean anything except that they want the jurors to hear their testimony live.''

``I'm trying to avoid a media crush,'' the attorney told The Detroit News for a story Thursday.

Traylor plays for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Bullock was cut by the Orlando Magic during training camp.

Other former Wolverine players — the Sacramento Kings' Chris Webber, the Indiana Pacers' Jalen Rose and the Los Angeles Clippers' Maurice Taylor — reportedly have been interviewed by investigators in the past year. It is unclear whether they have been ordered to appear before the grand jury, the newspaper said.

Hearsay testimony allowed in grand jury proceedings means investigators can elicit testify about what the players told them, rather than bringing in the players themselves.

Keith Corbett, the assistant federal attorney prosecuting Martin, said Wednesday that law bars him from discussing grand jury proceedings, including who has been subpoenaed.

Martin, a 66-year-old retired autoworker, has been a key figure in a long investigation of possible NCAA rules violations by Michigan's basketball program.

Martin was banned from contact with the Wolverines program in 1997 amid allegations he gave cash and gifts to players. Federal authorities have said they have found no evidence that Martin's alleged gambling operation included betting on Wolverine games.

Last Friday, a plea deal reached in March between Martin, son Carlton and federal prosecutors was scrapped, meaning Martin could face an indictment in a gambling and income-tax case.

Martin was alleged to have run an illegal gambling operation from 1988 through 1998. Published reports said Martin and his son ran a numbers operation at Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge complex.

Under the former plea deal, Martin had agreed to detail his involvement with the team in exchange for a reduced sentence of no more than 15 months behind bars on charges that carried a possible five-year sentence.