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More on the Bush Investigation

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Gary Klein had a story in The LAT yesterday about the Bush settlement but it seems to have been taken down from the Times website as it was not there this morning, so there is no http address to give the proper credit, but I did get a copy of it yesterday.

As was mentioned in the diaries on Thursday, Reggie Bush and his family settled with Michael Michaels for the unpaid rent from when they lived in a home Michaels owned in San Diego. This would indicate that any potential lawsuit that Michaels may have participated in is in effect forfeited.


The settlement between Bush's family and would-be marketing agent Michael Michaels could affect the investigation, "if they have an agreement they're not going to talk," Barker said. The investigation has been hindered because Bush, Michaels and others allegedly involved have declined to cooperate.

Michaels had alleged that Bush's mother, stepfather and younger brother did not pay rent to live in a San Diego-area home he owned while Bush played for the Trojans. Bush and his family also allegedly received cash disbursements.

The undisclosed settlement was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Yahoo Sports reported that sources said the settlement was for between $200,000 and $300,000.

Yahoo Sports confirms in their story that Michaels did sign a confidentiality agreement in return for the settlement. This would make it virtually impossible for the NCAA to glean anything from Michaels in their investigation. Though in a civil suit, according to Lakes attorney Brian Watkins, if the Lake lawsuit moves forward Michaels could still be called as a witness.

According to two sources, Michaels' settlement includes a confidentiality clause which will keep Michaels from talking with the NCAA.

Watkins, who still represents Lake. said Michaels' settlement did not impact Lake's plans to go forward with his lawsuit against the Bush family. Watkins expects the suit to be filed in the next few weeks.

"I'm in the middle of a trial that should end by next Tuesday or Wednesday," Watkins said. "I would think two weeks after that."

Watkins said he had not discussed a possible settlement with Cornwell "anytime recently." He left open the possibility of a settlement.

"We're reasonable people" Watkins said. "We'll listen to whatever someone has to say."

Watkins said he could call Michaels as a witness.

"Michael has said he'd be willing to be a witness," Watkins said.

Any confidentiality agreement would not prevent his cooperation, Watkins said.

"No confidentiality agreement trumps a subpoena."

Maybe, but then again maybe not, as I am sure a judge would have to rule on that in a separate hearing. You know the Bush lawyers would tooth and nail to keep Michaels silent. Maybe the lawyers here could give us some more detailed insight. This is far from over but it would seem that a settlement with Lake would stop the NCAA's investigation dead in its tracks as any settlement would also contain a non-disclosure agreement. The NCAA does not have subpoena powers so the trail would go cold.

As for the DeMartino angle in the article, I think it's more of the same. If Bush took money from Orenstein the NCAA will have a hard time punishing SC as they would once again have to prove that SC knew what was going on and again there is no evidence of that. If there were someone who knew they would have lost their job by now as there is no way that the USC administration would want that person(s) to continue to be employed by the school regardless of they are.

The probe has moved forward recently, Barker said, because "new people" have spoken with investigators. He declined to identify the people interviewed.

Bob DeMartino, a New Jersey memorabilia dealer who last year told Yahoo Sports that Bush and his family had received cash and benefits from marketing agent Mike Ornstein, said Friday that he recently spoke with NCAA investigators.

"I don't think it's going to die out, based on my conversation with the NCAA," DeMartino said.

DeMartino said he had signed a document saying he would not disclose elements of his interview.

DeMartino as you may remember used to work with Mike Ornstein but he has a bit of an axe to grind because Ornstein didn't sign DeMartino to be Bush's memorabilia agent so his information could be tainted.

A couple of things here, I will assume that Reggie settles putting his side of things to rest, as he won't talk about it potentially leaving USC holding the bag if something comes out of this investigation. The NCAA has continued to investigate but at no time has there been any indication, either offered by the NCAA or leaked from someone close to the investigation that anyone from SC knew or was involved. If someone from SC were involved I would have a very hard time believing that the NCAA could keep it a secret if they dug that sort of information up. These guys are not the NSA or CIA so I'm not sure that they have much.

More important, at least to me, this is a bad stain left on the image of USC regardless of the outcome as it has dragged on for over a year now and while it may not dominate the headlines there is enough that has been reported to make a lot of us feel that something is not right here. Put simply, if Reggie did nothing wrong then why did he settle? I refuse to bury my head in the sand on this as SC's future is at stake, as you never know how the NCCA is going to lean. I absolutely enjoyed watching Reggie play for this program and I will never forget some of the great plays that made and how is impact on the field helped push SC on this incredible run, but his alleged actions off the field could put the future of this program in harms way long after he has left and for that I will be very upset.

So, as has been the case for over a year now we will wait and see.