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NFL’s DeAndre Baker charged in bizarre armed robbery

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Deandre Baker celebrates with friends and family at the Young Money APAA Sports NFL Draft After Party at 21c Museum Hotel Nashville on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for Young Money APPA Sports)

DeAndre Baker may never wear a New York Giants uniform again. The 22-year-old cornerback has been charged in a bizarre armed robbery that may have been sparked by a card game gone awry.

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The four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault stem from a house party Baker attended with Seattle Seahawks corner Quinton Dunbar and another man in Mirimar, Florida on May 13th.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 09: Deandre Baker #27 of the New York Giants celebrates breaking up a pass intended for Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

At some point, things went wrong, potentially over a card game where Baker and Dunbar lost money, according to published reports. Baker is accused of stealing $12K in money and watches from several guests at the cookout, and directing another masked man to shoot someone walking into the party.

Dunbar, 28, will not be charged, as prosecutors cited “insufficient evidence.”

San Francisco 49ers v Washington Redskins
Quinton Dunbar #23 of the Washington Redskins reacts to a play against the San Francisco 49ers in the game at FedExField on October 20, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

According to Yahoo News, the alleged shakedown may have been related to $70K the two allegedly lost at a card game a few days before.

The three men were accused of planning the heist as they left in three cars – a Mercedes Benz, a Lamborghini and a BMW that were arranged for a speedy exit, police say.

Baker and Dunbar were arrested a week later, and were released on bond after entering not guilty pleas.

In a bizarre turn of events, the Miramar County Police Department obtained a search warrant that alleges that Dunbar and Baker paid a man named Dominic Johnson $55K to pay off the witnesses in the case. The communication happened via an Instagram direct message, the police say.

All four victims recanted their statements after being seen going to the office of Baker’s former lawyer, Micheal Grieco, who is now being investigated by the Florida Bar Association, according to the Post.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 09: Cornerback Deandre Baker #27 of the New York Giants celebrates after breaking up a pass intended for wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 09, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Baker’s current lawyer says the suspicion around the witnesses only helps his client.

“In my opinion, I’m shocked there’s charges, but it’s not going to change our day,” Baker’s co-lawyer, Patrick Patel, told The Post. “We’ve been prepared for trial since minute one on the case. I still predict a dismissal, after a full trial.

“Based up on what the state has put in the media, questioning the four individuals, whether they took bribes or didn’t take bribes or not, they have ruined the credibility of their own witnesses. They’ve done nothing but help us investigating the witnesses and pay-offs. We just look forward to cross-examining all of them.”

Baker, a Florida native was a 2019 draft pick out of Georgia, was told to stay away from the Giant preseason training after his arrest. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life in prison if convicted.

Since their initial arrests, Baker and Dunbar have both been on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list, generally used for players whose NFL playing status is awaiting a legal outcome.

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The Seahawks traded for Dunbar from the Washington football team in March, and he’s been part of their preseason plan. But Dunbar could still face discipline, including a suspension, from the league despite the lack of charges.

“We have been monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review,” an NFL spokesman told ESPN.

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