NEW YORK -- Federal prosecutors on Wednesday played a recording to a jury of a phone call in which formerArizonaassistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson told aspiring agent Christian Dawkins that Wildcats coach Sean Miller was paying star centerDeandre Ayton$10,000 per month while he was enrolled at the school.
Prosecutors played the call, which was intercepted by wiretaps on June 20, 2017, to the jury near the end of their case involving college basketball corruption.
Dawkins and Richardson were discussing how to recruit Ayton as a client to Dawkins' fledgling sports management company.
While talking about Ayton, Richardson told Dawkins, "Sean's got to get the [expletive] out of the way and let us work."
"We'll see how Sean plays it out," Dawkins said.
"You know what he bought per month?" Richardson asked.
"What he do?" Dawkins asked.
"I told you -- 10," Richardson replied.
"He's putting up some real money for them [expletive]," Dawkins responded. "He told me he's getting killed."
"But that's his fault," Richardson said.
During the same call, Richardson and Dawkins discussed how much Richardson would be paid each month by Dawkins' new sports management agency.
"You already know Sean is taking care ofRawle [Alkins]and them," Dawkins said.
Later Wednesday, Dawkins was called to testify and said that he didn't see anything wrong with paying college athletes.
"They are the only kids in college who can't get paid legally," Dawkins said. "There is a need for them to get paid. ... I don't think anything that's been discussed in either case is a crime."
Dawkins testified that he believed his company was already getting Alkins as a client, and that Ayton was already being paid through other parties.
"Deandre Ayton is going to get way more than 5,000," Dawkins said. "That's not even in the ballpark of what he's going to get."
It is unclear whether co-defendant Merl Code will testify.
Federal prosecutors have charged Dawkins and Code, a former Adidas consultant, with bribing three former assistants -- Richardson, Lamont Evans (South Carolina and Oklahoma State) and Tony Bland (USC) -- to influence their players to sign with Dawkins' company and certain financial advisors once they turned pro.
Dawkins testified Wednesday that he didn't want to pay assistant coaches because he didn't think they had much influence over players' choices in agents.
"By the time those kids get to college, the deals are usually already done," Dawkins testified. "There's no need to pay a college coach because these players are coming to college with agents. This idea that it's an amateur world is not real."
"I could be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that no one is signing players who isn't paying."
Dawkins said Jeff D'Angelo -- the pseudonym for an undercover FBI agent posing as an investor -- wanted to bribe the coaches, despite his objections.
During a telephone call with D'Angelo on June 28, 2017, Dawkins told him, "If you just wanna be Santa Claus and just give people money, well [expletive], let's take the money and let's just go to the strip club and buy hookers."
"Just to pay guys just for the sake of paying the guy, because he's at a school, that doesn't make sense," Dawkins testified. "[D'Angelo] is basically saying, 'You're going to introduce me to coaches that I can pay, or I'm not going to fund you.'"
Dawkins testified that he took the money given to him for college coaches and instead deposited it into the company bank account.
"Everything I deposited was given to me by the government (the undercover agent)," he said.
In one instance, Dawkins and Creighton assistant coach Preston Murphy invented a player -- "Marcus Phillips" -- in order to get $6,000 in a meeting from D'Angelo. Dawkins testified that immediately following the meeting, he and Murphy went into a bathroom and Murphy gave the $6,000 back to Dawkins, who later deposited $5,000 of it into the company account.
"I never paid a coach with the intent of bribing or influencing them to do anything for me," Dawkins testified.
ESPN reported in February 2018 that FBI wiretaps intercepted a call between Dawkins and Miller in which the Arizona coach discussed a $100,000 payment that secured Ayton's commitment to the Wildcats. At the time, Miller disputed the report and denied ever paying a recruit to sign with Arizona.
Last week, federal prosecutors played a surveillance recording of a meeting June 6, 2017, in which Dawkins talks about Ayton and says Miller told him, "I'm taking care of everything myself. I wanna bring you in. I'll turn everything over to you."
Former financial adviser Marty Blazer, a cooperating witness for the government, was present at the June 2017 meeting and testified last week that the reference was about Miller "taking care" of payments for Ayton.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center from the Bahamas, spent one season at Arizona before thePhoenix Sunsselected him No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA draft.
Munish Sood, a business partner of Dawkins, pleaded guilty to three felony counts related to the case and testified that Richardson accepted a $5,000 bribe during an initial meeting in New York on June 20, 2017. In return, Richardson promised to steer current and future Arizona players, including Ayton, Alkins andAllonzo Trier, to Dawkins' company.
"You're going to get Rawle Alkins, he's going to be a first-rounder," Richardson told Sood and others during the meeting at a New York hotel. "Allonzo Trier, you should get him. Deandre Ayton, we're working on him."
At one point during the recording, Richardson told Sood and the undercover FBI agents that Dawkins told him, "I wish I was a pimp and you were a prostitute. You'd make millions for me." Richardson said Dawkins also ridiculed him for using his own money to pay recruits.
"You make a quarter of a million dollars a year and you're broke," Dawkins told Richardson.
In July 2017, Richardson asked for an additional $15,000 from Dawkins and Sood to give to the mother of 2018 recruitJahvon Quinerlyof Hackensack, New Jersey. Richardson said he planned to make three payments of $5,000 each and would also pay her $10,000 of his own money.
"So Mom is like, 'How's this gonna work? I wanna move to Tucson,'" Richardson told Sood and an undercover FBI agent during a July 20, 2017, meeting at Sood's office in Princeton, New Jersey. "So I said, 'Look, you don't want to move to Tucson. It's a nice vacation spot. It's hot.
"'This is what I'll do. This is what I can do for you to put you in a situation to move to Tucson. ... I don't want the NCAA [expletive] with us. You should take two or three more visits and then shut it down. And then as soon as you do that, you commit.'"
Quinerly, the No. 7 point guard prospect in the Class of 2018 according to ESPN Recruiting, committed to Arizona over Villanova in August 2017.
After Richardson was among 10 men arrested by the FBI in September 2017, Quinerly decommitted and played at Villanova this past season. He announced in April that he is transferring to another school.
Richardson also said during the recording that he was making $2,000 monthly payments to Rodney Labossiere, Alkins' cousin, who was living with him in Tucson.
"His cousin moved to Tucson, which I'm highly against," Richardson said. "I never want the parents or anyone to move there. I'll give you two grand a month to make sure it works. But he brought him, his wife and his child. Wrong move."
During one of the recordings, Richardson also told the undercover FBI agents that LSU coach Will Wade attempted to hire him. At the time, Arizona and LSU were involved in a recruiting war for forwardNazreon Reidof Asbury Park, New Jersey.
According to Richardson, Wade told him, "Look, there's a deal in place. I got $300,000 for him."
Richardson said he responded, "S---, give me half and I'll make sure the kid goes there."