An explosive report in the Daily News includes allegations that, if true, would deepen the legal holes that New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar are in after they were charged in a May 13 armed robbery in Miramar, Fla.
The report, citing a warrant obtained by the Daily News from the Broward County (Fla.) Clerk of Courts, alleges a payoff of alleged victims to get them to change statements and a subsequent cover-up.
From the Daily News:
The warrant cites evidence collected through previous warrants, which includes video footage and direct messages that allegedly show witness Dominic Johnson oversaw the payoff of Baker’s and Dunbar’s four alleged victims on May 15 at the office of Dunbar’s attorney, Michael Grieco.
“I made them same n----s that said they got robbed come in and say them Boys ain’t have nothing to Do with it,” Johnson allegedly wrote on May 16 in a series of incriminating direct messages on his Instagram account, @powerballnick_305. ...
Baker’s attorney, Bradford Cohen, recently claimed to have testimony from two witnesses that they never saw the Giants corner pull a gun or rob anyone.
The Daily News also reported that “Detective Mark Moretti of the Miramar Police Department, who submitted the warrant reviewed by Judge Marina Garcia Wood, also reveals alarming direct messages between Baker and Johnson on Instagram that implicate Baker in the payoff.”
Per the report, the four alleged victims were paid between $5,000 and $30,000 to recant their stories against Dunbar, with payments totaling $55,000. Payments were allegedly made in the office of Michael Greico, an attorney for Dunbar.
This is a tweet from Daily News reporter Pat Leonard providing additional details:
Dominic Johnson Instagram DM: “I made them same n----s that said they got robbed come in and say them Boys ain’t have nothing to Do with it.”— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) July 10, 2020
Baker DM to Johnson: "Yo I’m in the city now getting cash how much to bring ?? I’m tryna get there too u ASAP.”https://t.co/Xk7qCoGd4a
Baker, 22, is alleged to have been the ringleader in the theft, at gunpoint, of more than $70,000 in money and watches. According to an affidavit, Baker and Dunbar had lost $70,000 at a party a few nights prior to the alleged robbery.
The affidavit states that Baker “took money and watches belonging to the victim(s) with force” and that he was “armed with a semi-automatic firearm.” A witness also claimed that Baker directed an accomplice to shoot him.
Baker pled not guilty to four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. Dunbar pled not guilty to four counts of armed robbery with a firearm.
A first-round pick by the Giants in 2018, Baker had previously been directed by the team to stay away from virtual offseason meetings while the legal proceedings played out.
Lawyers for Baker and Dunbar have repeatedly claimed innocence on behalf of their clients, and expressed the belief that charges against them would be dropped.
Per SNY, Baker’s attorneys are continuing to deny their client’s involvement:
“This is utterly false and defamatory to DeAndre Baker,” Bradford Cohen, Baker’s attorney, said in a statement via SNY Insider Ralph Vacchiano. ”We do not have any affidavits from the alleged victims of this offense, nor did these “victims” change the story as to Dre Baker. We accused the “victims” of extortion and reported to authorities from day 1.
“Andre Baker paid no one. The only statements we have are from several independent witnesses that were at the party. Mr. Baker also took a lie detector given by a nationally known examiner and was shown to be truthful. This is a smear tactic against Andre Baker.”
Baker’s other attorney, Patrick G. Patel, also tweeted the following:
“Thank you so much everyone for failing to read the warrant carefullly. Note coach, Johnson’s last text to baker, saying hurry up these guys f’n leaving! Baker had no intention ever to pay off witnesses and is not in the video because he is not guilty, and did not witness tamper!”
“Note Baker does not have any recanting affidavits, is not in the video and was with his attorneys when this illegal payoff went down! So learn to read b4 you make headlines about baker’s paying off witness! As a matter of fact We told the detective to follow up on this blackmail!”
Leonard also reported that a team source told him “they would not expect DeAndre Baker to remain on the Giants roster much longer.”