Sean Miller won't testify in federal corruption case, judge rules

Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Sean Miller

Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller won’t have to testify in court, after all. 

U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled Friday that Miller – along with LSU head coach Will Wade – will not have to take the stand on April 22 when the federal trial involving the college basketball corruption case begins. Judge Ramos said Miller’s testimony is "irrelevant" to bribery charges against former agent-runner Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code, according to Law360 reporter Pete Brush who was present for the decision in a New York federal court. 

Dawkins and Code are facing four counts of bribery in the latest case, and both were already convicted of bribery in a separate trial in October 2018. 

          RELATED: Arizona men's basketball players mum on future, voice support for Sean Miller


Miller was first notified he would be subpoenaed in late February by defense attorney Steven Haney, who represents Dawkins. Haney claimed wiretap evidence of Dawkins talking to Miller would prove there was corruption at the highest level of college basketball. 

 "The evidence establishes very clearly that Sean Miller is paying players at Arizona," Haney said during Friday morning's hearing, as reported by ESPN.

Men's bball v Stanford
Arizona Men's Basketball Head Coach, Sean Miller, helps Brandon Williams (2) up from the media table after Williams made a wild save during the Arizona-Stanford game on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

The prosecution filed a motion earlier this month to prevent uncharged coaches such as Miller from testifying in court on the basis there is no proven criminal conduct, so his testimony is inadmissible in court. 

For Miller, he has been linked to wiretap evidence since late Feb. 2018 when ESPN reported Miller and Dawkins talked about a potential $100,000 payment for Deandre Ayton to come to Arizona. However, several media outlets have cast doubt on the validity of the ESPN report.   

The UA head coach said in March 2018 he has “never paid a recruit” to play for Arizona.

"Let me be very very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona," Miller said last March. "I never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publicly announced he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory."

Sean Miller press conference
Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller addresses allegations during a press conference in McKale Center Thursday, March 1 in Tucson, Ariz. “I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program,” Miller said. “I have never paid a recruit or prospect or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have and I never will.”

In Feb. 2019, a Yahoo! Sports report stated the NCAA had launched formal inquiry into the Arizona men’s basketball program. Still, Miller has continued to receive support from the university, specifically from President Dr. Robert C. Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke. 

“We’re fully supportive of the coaching staff, the leadership of the basketball program,” Heeke said Feb. 9 during a men’s basketball home game. “We’re supporting, as I have said before, we support Coach Miller. Those things that have been said to the contrary to that are not true.”

Unless new evidence incriminating Miller is released at the April 22 trial of Dawkins and Code, all signs point to him coaching at Arizona for the foreseeable future and with the No. 1 ranked recruiting class on its way to Tucson.

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