The New York Giants released 2019 first-rounder DeAndre Baker in early September due to charges stemming from armed robbery and an aggravated assault with a firearm some four months earlier. On Monday, those charges were dropped.
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Victims’ Lawyer Arrested for Extortion
The Broward County (Fla.) State Attorney’s office has dropped all charges against Baker, who was accused of a Miramar robbery back in May. On the same day, William Dean, an attorney representing three of Baker’s four alleged victims, was arrested and charged with extortion.
Dean reportedly tried to extort Baker by having him pay each of his clients north of $266,000. In exchange, his clients would either stop cooperating with authorities or completely overhaul their initial sworn statement to favor Baker.
According to numerous reports from the investigation, Dean told Baker’s attorney his clients would do “anything you want, so long as the money is right.”
Court documents show that all three of Dean’s clients have recanted their previous sworn statements. Per CBS Miami, the three men “asserted that they did not get an accurate look at the events as they occurred, that DeAndre Baker was present but not involved in any criminal act, and that they were not robbed or assaulted.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport spoke with Baker’s lawyer Bradford Cohen to get his take on the recent turn of events. Here’s what Cohen had to say:
“I’ve been saying this from Day 1, that this was an extortion scheme and that Deandre was the victim. This event did not play out as they insinuated. And the case was dismissed.”
Will Baker Return to the Giants?
In many ways, it makes all the sense in the world for Baker to reunite with the team. In other ways, it appears that ship has long sailed.
While James Bradberry has been a homerun signing by GM Dave Gettleman thus far, 10 weeks into the season and the team is still struggling to find the right fit opposite him at cornerback. Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis and Isaac Yiadom have all thrown their hat into the ring, bidding for the CB2 gig and all have underwhelmed to varying degrees.
While Baker was far from lockdown in his rookie campaign, he is a player the team clearly values from a talent perspective, as they traded back into the first round to acquire him less than 20 months ago.
A Giants-Baker reunion certainly makes sense from a pure x’s and o’s standpoint. However, there are far more hurdles to overcome before such an action can become reality. For starters, just two months ago co-owner John Mara publically deemed Baker’s legal issues “embarrassing to the organization.”
There’s also the matter of the cornerback currently occupying the commissioner’s exempt list. While you would expect Baker to be removed from the list immediately following his charges being dropped, that’s far from a guarantee.
As SI.com’s Conor Orr noted last offseason, the NFL has a long history of suspending players despite not being arrested or charged with a crime. Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston and Ezekiel Elliott are just a few examples of this.
With that said, Baker sounds eager to return to the gridiron.
While Baker’s NFL career remains up in the air at the moment, it’s simply good to see that the 23-year-old at least now has the chance to have one.
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