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Wolverines Basketball News

Former U-M assistant testifies in Martin case

Also, prosecutors issue two indictments of Martin's associates

Thursday, October 19, 2000

By GEOFF LARCOM
NEWS STAFF REPORTER

A former University of Michigan assistant basketball coach testified Wednesday before a federal grand jury that is investigating banned U-M booster Ed Martin.

Scott Perry, who coached under Steve Fisher at U-M from 1993 to 1997, and has known Martin for most of his life, appeared in federal court in Detroit, said a source familiar with Perry's whereabouts.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a grand jury indictment against Martin on charges that could include illegal gambling, tax evasion and money laundering. Former Wolverine players Robert Traylor, Louis Bullock, Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Jalen Rose already have testified before the grand jury. Last summer, the lawyer for Traylor and Bullock said both players received loans from Martin while they were at U-M.

Investigators are trying to determine where Martin's money went. The U-M and the NCAA are awaiting the results of the federal probe before deciding whether to open an investigation on whether U-M violated rules regarding extra benefits from boosters or showed a lack of institutional control.

Prosecutors also issued indictments Wednesday against two people accused of being Martin's associates in running a numbers game at Detroit-area auto plants. Lenon Thompson of Belleville and Judy Smith of Detroit were charged with helping conduct an illegal numbers game, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Convertino said the indictments "are part of the ongoing investigation that's proceeding according to plan."

Several others accused of being Martin's associates agreed to plea bargains this year in exchange for reduced sentences and their cooperation in the investigation of the gambling operation.

Convertino refused to comment on the grand jury proceedings, which are sealed from the public.

Perry grew up in Detroit, and is familiar with both Ed Martin and his son, Carlton, according to interviews U-M conducted in 1996-97 as part of its investigation of Ed Martin's involvement with U-M basketball players. Perry could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

U-M first interviewed Perry in September 1996, six months after the rollover accident that began the basketball probe. Perry said he first met Martin when he was in ninth grade, around 1977, because he knew his son. He later attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School with Carlton, according to interview transcripts obtained from U-M through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Perry classified Ed Martin as a basketball junkie who liked to hang around top Detroit players and befriend them. U-M coaches were cordial to Martin, to avoid alienating players he was close to, Perry said.

"But in no way have I ever construed him to be a representative of any university ... " Perry told U-M officals. "I don't think he is involved in any type of illegal matters or anything like that with kids."

Perry told U-M officials that he was involved with recruiting Mateen Cleaves of Flint, who was one of the state's top prospects in 1996 and led Michigan State to the 2000 NCAA title.

Perry said he helped set up Cleaves' recruiting visit, when U-M players took him to Ed Martin's house and then to a party at a downtown Detroit hotel. The rollover accident occurred on the way back from that party, according to U-M's investigative reports.

"I think they figured that (Cleaves) was a kid that we really wanted to sign, and I guess that was their way of showing him a good time to get him here to Michigan," Perry told U-M officials. "Obviously it was poor judgment, a mistake on their part, they realize that."

Perry was also an assistant at the University of Detroit Mercy and the University of California. After leaving U-M, he served for three years as head basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, Ky. He's now a scout for the Detroit Pistons.

Reporter Geoff Larcom can be reached at (734) 994-6838. His e-mail is glarcom@aa-news.com

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