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Kevin Smith

McPherson Update: Prosecutor Backs Off Comments

10 March 2003

The state attorney handling the betting scandal surrounding former Florida State University quarterback Adrian McPherson said today that comments he made over the weekend have been blown way out of proportion.

On Saturday prosecutor Paul Driver, the assistant state attorney in Tallahassee, told the Orlando Sentinel that "there's a lot more that's going to come out when public records are released."

Driver said all he was really referring to was the way the legal system works itself out.

"Police make warrants and charge suspects," he said. "We are then required to look at the evidence given to us and decide if there is a possibility of other charges. Sometimes we file more charges than the police do and sometimes we charge less."

He added that the state "does not have any plans for more charges" against McPherson.

McPherson was charged with one count of bookmaking last week after a five-month investigation into other criminal activity revealed he was using an Internet-based sports book, SBG Global, to place bets.

McPherson was charged on Thursday and released after posting a $1,750 bail. He is due in court April 10 to face the charges.

He doesn't face new charges, but Driver said the possibility of a point-shaving scandal coming to light remains.

"If you look at some of the documents that we have, which we will be releasing in due time, and connect the dots, they show there was point shaving," he said. "But ultimately that isn't my decision to make. I can only gather the evidence and take it before a judge and let him be the ultimate one to decide."

A special task force that included campus, county and city police began investigating McPherson in the fall after he was suspected of cashing a stolen blank bank check. He tried to cash a $3,500 forged check a couple weeks after a friend had stolen it from an auto accessory shop.

Police allege that McPherson tried to cash the forged check only after he had racked up thousands of dollars in gambling debt. The gambling debt was incurred both online and through bookmakers based on the FSU campus; one of the bookmakers was the equipment manager of the football team.

McPherson tried to cash the forged check three days before his last game with the Seminoles, a 17-7 loss to North Carolina State.

Last week, when McPherson's gambling activity was first brought to light, officials close to the investigation said the former QB had bet on every FSU game, including the four that he had started in, but always bet on his team to win.

Today, however, Driver said that might not necessarily be the case.

"There is conflicting evidence as to whether he bet for or against his own team," he said.

When the evidence is analyzed with the circumstances surrounding the game McPherson's case might be a tough one to defend, Driver said.

If McPherson tried to cash a stolen check for $3,500 the chances are pretty high that he would be willing to throw a game to recoup some of his debt.

"If you are a gambling-addicted quarterback and you desperately need money, isn't it much easier to lose a game than to win one?" he asked.

If officials can prove that McPherson bet on NC State to beat his team in late November, the results on the field won't help his cause. McPherson was pulled late in the game after going 8-of-20 in the passing game and only gaining 80 yards.

It was the fist time in two years that the Seminoles, one of college football's most storied programs of the last 20 years, were held without an offensive touchdown.

As part of the investigation, the task force contacted sports betting experts in Las Vegas to see if the game contained signs of a point-shaving scandal. Last week, when results of the investigation were announced, officials said those experts indicated that it was highly unlikely that McPherson had shaved points during the NC State game.

Driver said he didn't want to comment on Internet gambling-related prosecution or whether the state should get tougher on those who bet online.

Any charges that McPherson violated the Federal Wire Act would have to be brought up in the federal courts, and Driver didn't want to speculate on whether federal attorneys would be brought into the case.

McPherson Update: Prosecutor Backs Off Comments is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith