Bush lawyer reveals settlement

SAN DIEGO – An attorney for Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush filed a motion this week acknowledging that the running back’s family reached a financial settlement with a financier of a would-be marketing agency that attempted to recruit Bush while he was at the University of Southern California.

The settlement with Michael Michaels of now defunct New Era Sports & Entertainment, first reported by Yahoo! Sports in April 2007, was for $300,000.

The motion to settle the case through arbitration was revealed Thursday during what was scheduled to be a deposition of New Era partner Lloyd Lake. Lake has filed a civil lawsuit against Bush and his family seeking $300,000 for cash and gifts Lake said he provided while Bush played for the Trojans.

Proceedings halted less than 10 minutes after Lake’s deposition was to begin. Bush’s attorney David Cornwell said the motion was to compel Lake to adhere to the terms of the settlement reached between Michaels and Bush’s parents – LaMar and Denise Griffin.

An irritated Superior Court Judge Joan M. Lewis admonished both sides, but ultimately agreed to postpone all depositions in the case and schedule a hearing for Aug. 1 to discuss the motion.

Cornwell said the settlement with Michaels included Bush as an “intended beneficiary” of Michaels, releasing the family of any liabilities. A copy of the settlement filed with the court was heavily edited, removing almost all detail of the transaction.

“They’re conceding that they received this money,” Lake’s attorney Brian Watkins said. “But now their argument is that: ‘We got this money, but we paid it back already. We paid it to Michaels and that satisfied Lloyd’s debts.”

Lake was more succinct.

“The key thing is (they said) they never took money before,” Lake said. “Now, they’re saying they did.”

If Bush’s attorneys don’t win their argument Aug. 1, Bush could be doing his deposition Sept. 9. That’s two days after Bush and the New Orleans Saints are scheduled to open the NFL season.

An NCAA investigation into the actions of Bush and USC continues. If the NCAA rules that Bush received extra benefits during his playing career at USC, he could be ruled retroactively ineligible. Since some of the benefits date back to the 2004 season, the Trojans’ national championship that season could be rescinded. USC could face further NCAA sanctions and Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy could be in jeopardy.