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Walker pleads not guilty to bad check charges

Associated Press / July 1, 2010

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LAS VEGAS — Former Celtics star Antoine Walker pleaded not guilty yesterday to criminal bad check charges alleging he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts and penalties to three Las Vegas casinos.

A Clark County District Court hearing master, Melisa De La Garza, set trial for Nov. 22 in Las Vegas. Walker and his lawyer, Jonathan Powell, said nothing to reporters after the brief arraignment.

Powell has said he and the Clark County district attorney’s office were negotiating toward resolving the Nevada case without sending Walker to prison. Walker could face probation or up to 12 years behind bars if convicted.

Walker won a 2006 NBA championship with the Miami Heat, but hasn’t played in the NBA since 2008.

He played briefly in Puerto Rico during the 2009-10 season.

Walker filed last month for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, scuttling a promise he made last November to a Las Vegas justice of the peace to pay restitution to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, and the Red Rock Resort, plus court fees and penalties to the district attorney’s office.

That judge bound the case over for trial in state court.

The charges stem from $1 million in casino markers, or gambling loans, that Walker racked up between July 2008 and January 2009. Nevada law treats unpaid markers as bad checks that can be turned over to the district attorney for prosecution.

Walker, a Chicago native, was a three-time league All-Star with the Celtics before going to Miami.

His bankruptcy filing reported $12.7 million in liabilities and $4.3 million in assets, including his championship ring.

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