Earlier today I reported that the attorney most prominent in the defense of Auburn against the NCAA since 1991, Birmingham lawyer Sam Franklin, was also tied to a FBI investigation into political corruption that involved two men associated with Auburn athletics.
(Auburn NCAA defense atty Franklin quietly took over 3 weeks ago)
Auburn booster Milton McGregor and Auburn alumnus Robert Geddie, a lobbyist whose firm is paid by a private Auburn Athletics fund, were ensnared in an FBI wiretap investigation that resulted in a federal criminal trial due to start on April 4. Both have been charged with crimes related to political corruption.
Last month TMZ reported that the FBI was looking into the Cam Newton situation and that the inquiry could somehow be related to McGregor’s current criminal proceeding. While the nature of that connection has not been confirmed, we now know exactly the role of Auburn NCAA defense attorney Franklin in McGregor’s upcoming federal criminal trial.
Three weeks ago Geddie, who is also on trial with McGregor, quietly terminated his original attorney Anthony Aaron Joseph while retaining Franklin. The move was not reported in the media.
To recap: Geddie is an Auburn Alumnus who, until he was arrested by the FBI in early October, helped run the most prominent political lobbying firm in the state, Fine-Geddie.
Fine-Geddie is, to this day, still contracted with Auburn University to handle the school’s political lobbying needs. If it seems a little strange that Auburn would have a lobbying firm on permanent retainer, you might also be interested to find out how Geddie’s firm is paid by the school.
The primary fundraising organization for Auburn Athletics, a private enterprise called Tigers Unlimited, is the sole source of Fine-Geddie’s compensation from the school.
While it might be difficult to get at why a private Auburn Athletics fund is paying out to a political lobbying firm year-round, we now have a pretty good idea why Sam Franklin, Auburn’s lead NCAA defense attorney since ‘91, is repping Robert Geddie in his federal criminal proceeding.
A criminal proceeding that, again, figures to prominently feature thousands of wiretapped phone calls and mountains of other evidence that could be related to electronic surveillance.
If Auburn Athletics and Tigers Unlimited were in no way involved in Geddie being nabbed by the FBI in October, why did Geddie three weeks ago fire his attorney and hire an Auburn-associated attorney who also is currently representing the school in the Cam Newton situation?
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