CRAWFORD | Lawyer up: Courts create new storyline in Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Lawyer up: Courts create new storyline in Louisville hoops escort allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — What was a sordid off-the-court tale of strippers, alleged prostitution and NCAA intrigue with the University of Louisville basketball program now has branched out into a second storyline — and this one will play out in a courtroom.

Indiana Business Journal Book Publishing confirmed to WDRB News Friday that it has received a subpoena to appear before a Jefferson County grand jury on Nov. 5, signaling that the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine is moving forward with questioning in the wake of criminal activity Katina Powell reported in her book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”

We don’t know yet who else has received subpoenas. The Commonwealth Attorney’s office does not comment on grand jury proceedings.

Powell’s attorney, Larry Wilder, said she has not received a subpoena. Subjects of grand jury investigations usually aren’t called to testify, because they are under no legal obligation to do so. Andre McGee’s attorney, Scott Cox, said he will not comment until the criminal investigation is complete. U of L spokesmen in athletics and university media relations said they would not comment on any pending investigations, and both declined to confirm or deny whether anyone at the school has received a subpoena.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office will not confirm the scope or subject of the investigation, but when the book was originally published, Wine’s office emailed to WDRB a statement attributed to him, which said, “The allegations of criminal activity contained in this book cause grave concern to me and this community. If my office receives credible evidence of sexual abuse or other criminal activity involving minor children, we will vigorously prosecute those responsible for the crimes.”

Wine said then that his office was in contact with the University of Louisville Police Department and the Louisville Metro Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit.

U of L police are handling the investigation, and Chris Foster, who handles many cases concerning crimes against children, is the lead prosecutor.

The book is vague in its discussion of Powell’s daughters. But there is one explicit reference: “By age 16 Lindsay (Powell’s oldest daughter) began to perform with her mother and other women in strip acts.” Other passages suggest that some of Powell's daughters could have been underage when taking part in adult activities.

Lindsay, according to the book, was 19 when the shows at U of L began. Powell’s youngest daughter, Shay, was 15 when the shows at U of L began, but Powell has said repeatedly in interviews since the book was published that none of her daughters was a minor while working in shows at U of L, or any adult shows.

She has, however, cast doubt on her own book. In an interview with the syndicated radio program “Rover’s Morning Glory” on Thursday, Powell acknowledged, “Those are my journals. And how they interpreted my journals and wrote the book, is how they did it. People are still questioning, we’re still taking to the publishing company, you know, some things weren’t right. . . . He (author Dick Cady) did best that he could do and I think he did a marvelous job.”

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office also could be seeking charges on promotion of prostitution, a felony in Kentucky. If this is the case, subpoenas could be issued to any U of L player they suspect could cast light on the alleged parties in Minardi Hall, past or present.

We all know this — NCAA investigations often have to operate on the periphery of allegations. They can interview whatever witnesses they can compel to talk, usually students, or people still employed by NCAA schools. Beyond that, its ability to get at confidential documents, outside phone records, bank records or other information is limited.

The courts face no such limitation. IBJ likely will be asked to provide the journals and text messages Powell provided to them. And the grand jury can obtain text messages, phone logs, or banking information or any other data it needs in determining whether to hand down indictments.

From experience, once a matter gets into the hands of the court, information becomes much more plentiful — though grand jury proceedings themselves are not subject to open records laws.

For U of L, it’s another concern. It not only brings more publicity to the problem, but could be another obligation for players or coaches.

NCAA investigators will be privy to any public information that comes out of the court proceedings, which could lead to further questions on their part.

Already, a source close to the proceeding said current U of L players spoke for 5-10 minutes each with NCAA investigators on Monday and Tuesday.

The NCAA does not comment on active investigations, but various sources have said that it has spoken with players from other schools who were recruited by U of L, as well as U of L’s players. Court testimony — under oath — by others involved in the allegations whom the NCAA cannot compel to testify would further help the NCAA make its case.

A legal proceeding also could help bring clarity to the murky money trail which inevitably arises when a concealed, illicit activity like prostitution is involved. The courts have far more authority to investigate and question sources of funds.

From a practical standpoint, the presence of a grand jury investigation means that the time needed for U of L and the NCAA to bring their investigations to a close could be lengthened, not shortened.

Regardless, as with everything, there’s far too much that we don’t know in order to draw any real conclusions.

But now with an official grand jury investigation confirmed, as well as the NCAA-U of L investigation, we don’t know twice as much as we did before.

And it may now take us twice as long to find anything out.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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