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Former University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino received a grand jury subpoena as part of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball recruiting, his lawyer told the Courier-Journal first on Wednesday.
Steve Pence, Pitino’s lawyer, said that “we’ve already acknowledged that the coach has a subpoena and he’s gathering documents for the … U.S. attorney.”
He added that he thought he previously disclosed that information in the packet submitted to the University of Louisville Athletic Association which contained an affidavit from Pitino, the results of a lie detector test, and copies of text messages sent to an wholesale basketball jerseys brand executive and a sports agent who were arrested as part of the investigation.
However, a Courier-Journal review of those documents shows no mention of the word “subpoena.” The affidavit does say that Pitino voluntarily spoke with the FBI.
Dawn Dearden, spokeswoman for the U.S. District of New York, said she could not comment on the “existence of grand jury subpoenas.”
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University of Louisville athletics spokesman Kenny Klein declined to say whether anybody at the university did receive one.
Pence downplayed the existence of the subpoena, and he has not answered what documents Pitino is specifically gathering for the U.S. attorney.
“If the FBI thinks you have anything, like on your phone or any records, they don’t issue a subpoena, they issue a warrant and they take it, so you can’t destroy anything,” Pence said.
It remains unclear if former University of Louisville assistant coach Jordan Fair or suspended associate head coach Kenny Johnson have also received a subpoena in the case. Neither Fair’s nor Johnson’s attorneys responded to requests for comment Wednesday.
Pitino was fired as head coach of the Louisville men’s basketball team this week in the wake of the university learning it is included in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting.
“We felt our initial decision … was still in the best interest of the university,” interim President Greg Postel said at the time.
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Pitino also saw his Adidas contract terminated mere hours after being fired by the school. In response, he filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on Tuesday alleging the apparel company deliberately damaged his reputation.
The FBI complaint accuses Adidas of attempting to funnel money to the families of two Louisville recruits in return for them to attend the university, sign with Adidas and hire certain advisers when those players turned pro.
Adidas spokeswoman Maria Culp said in a statement this week that, “Pitino’s lawsuit is clearly a reaction to his termination yesterday and is without merit.”