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Former Arizona assistant Book Richardson agrees to plea bargain in college basketball bribery probe

Former Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson agreed to a plea bargain Monday in the college basketball bribery and corruption probe, according to his attorney.

Craig Mordock said Richardson will plead guilty to a felony count of federal funds bribery. The sentencing range is 18 to 24 months in federal prison.

Richardson, arrested in September 2017 and later fired by Arizona, faced four charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud.

He is the second assistant coach to accept a deal with prosecutors. Former USC associate head coach Tony Bland previously agreed to a plea bargain and pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit bribery during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

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Bland is scheduled to be sentenced April 2. Though the sentencing range is six to 12 months in prison, he is expected to get probation.

Richardson’s deal, like the one signed by Bland, doesn’t include a requirement to cooperate with prosecutors.

Bland and Richardson had been scheduled for trial in April along with former Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, Adidas employee Merl Code and Christian Dawkins, the would-be chief executive of a sports management company.

Code, Dawkins and Jim Gatto, another Adidas employee, were found guilty in October in another case related to the investigation. They are scheduled to be sentenced in March.

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The trial of former Auburn assistant Chuck Person and clothier Rashan Michel was recently moved from February to June.

Prosecutors accused Richardson of accepting at least $20,000 in bribes in exchange for steering Arizona players to use the sports management company fronted by Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood.

Sood pleaded guilty last year and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

nathan.fenno@latimes.com

Twitter: @nathanfenno


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