An attorney for the law firm hired by Arizona to internally review the school’s alleged involvement in an FBI bribery investigation released a statement on Sunday, one in which he strongly defends freshman center Deandre Ayton.
Statement from Boston attorney Paul Kelly, who is conducting Arizona’s internal investigation of FBI matter pic.twitter.com/Okg0MS8mmj
— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) February 25, 2018
Paul Kelly, of the law firm of Jackson Lewis, called reports that Ayton may have received $100,000 to attend Arizona “false and unfounded.” Kelly wrote that Ayton “voluntarily submitted to several interviews” with the FBI and federal prosecutors as well as compliance officials with the NCAA, the Pac-12 and Arizona.
“In each of these interviews, Mr. Ayton has credibly and consistently maintained that neither he nor any member of his family, nor any representative thereof, received any money or extra benefit to influence his decision to attend the University of Arizona,” Kelly wrote.
The 7-foot-1 Ayton played for Arizona on Saturday in its overtime loss at Oregon, scoring 28 points with 19 rebounds. Arizona coach Sean Miller was not in attendance, having mutually agreed with the school not to coach the team after an ESPN report on Friday cited sources who claim Miller was caught on tape discussing a $100,000 payment with an agent meant to help bring Ayton to Arizona.
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CORRECTION: This story has been updated to say that Paul Kelly works for the law firm Jackson Lewis.