Not guilty pleas for Baker, Dunbar in robbery

New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker pleaded not guilty to his eight charges related to an alleged armed robbery that police say took place last week in Miramar, Florida.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar also plans to plead not guilty to his four armed robbery charges later this afternoon, his attorney Michael Grieco told ESPN.

This was the next step after both players were granted bail ($200,000 for Baker, $100,00 for Dunbar) Sunday following a night in Broward Sheriff’s Office jail satisfying their arrest warrants from the alleged incident.

In the coming weeks, the state attorney’s office will decide whether to go forward toward trial in each of the NFL players’ cases. The burden of proof falls on the state, which saw its four victims recant its story to police that night in sworn affidavits to Grieco within 36 hours of the event. A fifth person, identified as witness Dominic Johnson, also signed an affidavit saying the players weren’t culpable of this alleged crime. Baker’s attorney Bradford Cohen says he has similar affidavits clearing his client including some that haven’t been presented to the state, for “a little strategic defense issue” in the event this case goes forward.

The prosecutor found it “suspect” that the witnesses recanted within 36 hours.

Cohen and Grieco both expect the charges on their clients to eventually be dropped due these affidavits and the apparent lack of immediate other evidence in this alleged crime.

The alleged robbery occurred during an dice gambling game at a Miramar house with 15 to 20 occupants in attendance and there was a commotion that ensued after parties were accused of cheating with “loaded dice” during the game, a source told ESPN.

According to the arrest warrant, Baker and Dunbar are accused of stealing money and watches with force while armed with semiautomatic firearms. It states that Baker intentionally threatened victims with a firearm. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, multiple witnesses said at one point during the incident that Baker ordered another suspect wearing a red mask to shoot an individual who was just entering the party.

Prosecutors said they haven’t identified the man in the red mask. There were no shots fired. The Giants told Baker to stay away from team meetings and focus on his legal issues at this time, a source familiar with the team’s thinking told ESPN. Both Dunbar and Baker have apologized for the distraction to their teams.