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Former Arizona assistant Book Richardson enters plea deal in federal bribery case

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book-richardson-arizona-wildcats-college-basketball-fbi-trial-bribery-guilty-sentence Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats’ connection to an FBI bribery investigation involving college basketball and shoe companies is back in the news. And like in most previous instances, it’s not in a particularly good way.

Emanuel ‘Book’ Richardson, a former assistant coach, has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of federal funds bribery according to Yahoo! Sports. Under the terms of his plea, Richardson faces between 18 and 24 months in prison, far below the up to 60 years he could have faced had he gone to trial and been convicted on several charges.

Richardson was accused by federal prosecutors of taking $20,000 in bribes from sports agent Christian Dawkins in exchange for trying to convince Arizona’s NBA prospects to sign with Dawkins or agents and financial planners he was associated with.

He was one of four college assistants arrested in September 2017. Ex-USC assistant Tony Bland entered a plea deal in December, two months after Dawkins and a pair of Adidas executives were convicted.

Richardson was an assistant at Arizona from 2009-17, coming over with Sean Miller from his Xavier staff.

So, what does this mean for Arizona? There’s no indication that Richardson’s plea deal includes any cooperation with prosecutors or federal investigators on the other pending cases, and if that’s the case he likely fell on the sword rather than rat out Miller or anyone associated with Arizona (if he had the ability to do so).

That also means that any allegedly wiretap recordings involving Miller, which ESPN reported the existence of back in February, may never come up in court.

Miller has not commented on the allegations since making a fiery statement last March denying any wrongdoing. Since then any attempts by reporters to ask him about developments in the investigation have been met with him saying that he’d made his statement and refusing to expound.