Gallant: Buckle up — lawyers making Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar’s case all that more bizarre
I’m not supposed to. But I can’t stop laughing at the most infamous dice game since . . . I’ll be honest, the only dice game I’ve ever seen was in the “World Series of Dice” skit on Chappelle’s Show.
And since no one got hurt, I think it’s fair for you to cackle at every development too. Even if Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar was allegedly involved.
Check that – he wasn’t? Classic lawyering. More on that later.
I went to high school in Florida, living in St. Petersburg from 2003 to 2007. It’s a beautiful place featuring sunshine, the best beaches in the country, and the most insane news headlines possible. Take this story for example, which took place next door to where I used to live. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I covered an actual “Florida Man” moment.
First, a timeline:
• Dunbar and Giants cornerback Deandre Baker allegedly attend a cookout party in Miramar, Fla. (just outside Miami) featuring cards and video games.
• 12:20 a.m. Eastern: Police were called about an alleged armed robbery involving Dunbar that took place 45 minutes earlier.
• 9 a.m. Pacific: Dunbar did a Zoom call with sports media members from Seattle who were totally unaware of the incident.
• 4:15 p.m. Pacific: Miramar Police issue an arrest warrant for Dunbar for four counts of armed robbery with a firearm.
“Arrest warrant? Give me details, PAWL.”
• Witness 1 – who hosted the party – alleged that Baker pointed a gun at a party attendee and directed Dunbar and an unidentified man wearing a red mask to take money and valuables from the attendees.
• Witness 2 claimed that Baker and the red masked individual were armed but that Dunbar was not and that all three left together in different vehicles. He believed the cars were pre-positioned to leave the party quickly.
• Witness 3 stated that Baker, the red masked individual (who apparently goes by Shy) and Dunbar were armed, and also believed that the three left in three pre-positioned vehicles. He said that he’d met Baker and Dunbar two days before in Miami at a party where Baker and Dunbar lost $70,000 in high-stakes gambling.
• Witness 4 detailed that Baker pointed a gun at him, and while he didn’t see a firearm on Dunbar, he said he saw and heard Dunbar directing others to take valuables.
• Witness 5 – Dominick Johnson – said he’d known Baker and Dunbar since they were children. He said that Baker had a gun but that he didn’t see one in Dunbar’s possession. A police officer tried to call Baker with Johnson’s cell phone but Baker hung up.
• Dunbar’s lawyer Michael Grieco says that five witnesses signed affidavits attesting that Dunbar was not armed and did not participate in the armed robbery.
• Dunbar surrenders to Miramar Police.
• Dunbar released from jail on $100,000 bond.
• Dunbar apologizes to the Seahawks and fans for “unnecessary distractions.”
• ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe reports the robbery took place because of an illegal dice gambling game with 15 to 20 occupants and a commotion ensued after parties were accused of cheating with “loaded dice.”
Those are the facts, and they aren’t funny, especially when you consider that the Seahawks’ defense will likely need Dunbar on the field to take any kind of step forward in 2020. Plus, the whole robbery thing.
Enter the lawyers. [Grabs record] [Plays circus music]
Let’s start with Dunbar’s character of a lawyer, Michael Grieco. He’s a man of bombastic words, seeming like a cross between fictional lawyers Saul Goodman and Jackie Chiles. Take his interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton last week where he bragged that he had “five smoking guns” in Dunbar’s favor with changed testimonies from all five witnesses in 36 hours – an event that certainly raised my enormous eyebrows. When Clayton asked Grieco about the sworn affidavits, he answered “I’m not going to speak to the type of people they are,” only to say he thought they were “scam artists” seconds later.
Greico’s been like this in a past career. Did you know he was previously Miami Beach commissioner and a legitimate Miami Beach Mayoral candidate in 2017? At least until the Miami Herald began investigating Grieco for illegally taking a donation from a foreign national. When the paper confronted him about this, Grieco said: “It is absolutely untrue. You can look right into my soul.” Strong words! At least until he stopped running for mayor the next month after the state attorney’s office began digging, resigned from his commissioner position in October, and cut a deal that barred him from public office for a year. And now? Oh, he’s a Florida state representative running for re-election in addition to his day job as a defense lawyer.
I don’t know Grieco personally. I’m not sure I want to based off the piece linked to in the paragraph above (a fascinating read) which described him as someone to be afraid of, “a destructive personality” and someone who thought he was “above the law” (not to mention like Fredo from “The Godfather”). And he’s exactly the kind of shameless self-promoter – exhibits A, B and C (that background though) – you’d expect a Saul Goodman or Jackie Chiles to be.
None of the above has anything to do with Grieco’s lawyering. But this tweet, presented on Twitter as if it was new evidence despite being available in the original arrest warrant, is misleading at best, and it’s a bit surprising that he’s representing NFL players.
Quick update on Mr. Dunbar’s case…dispatch reports show the accusers waited at least 45 minutes before calling police. 🤔
— Michael Grieco (@Mike_Grieco) May 22, 2020
Why? Because he resigned as assistant state attorney in 2006 when he was found to be posting news stories about an assault charge against the late Sean Taylor, a former NFL All-Pro safety.
Isn’t this story ridiculous? There’s still more to dissect.
DeAndre Baker’s lawyer, Patrick Patel, is something else, too. I didn’t know that “Ignore that rattin’, my client was playing Madden!” could be used as a defense (he didn’t actually say that though he should have), but it’s the one that Patel pulled, angrily stating that Baker only brought his Xbox and a controller to the party.
“Far from an individual who’s going somewhere with an alleged intent to rob somebody, an armed robbery, to go there and hook up his Madden game, play the game for over an hour and then leave it there and go home,’’ Patel said to the New York Post.
Whether true or untrue, it’s one of the funniest alibis I’ve ever read. For his part, Patel is trying to collect electronic evidence that proves Baker was logged on and playing Madden and that he “bounced” when he heard a “ruckus” going on in another room of the house. Meanwhile I’m jealous of the idea that anyone would just up and leave their gaming console at someone else’s house.
Thought Grieco was done adding to the hilarity of this whole case? It just keeps getting more and more 2020 because there’s even DM sliding! That linked tweet (something that could theoretically be doctored fairly easily online) PEEVED Patel. Why? Scroll back up to Witness 3, who claimed that he’d seen Dunbar and Baker lose $70,000 in a game of dice two days before. The alleged direct message could establish an alibi for Dunbar while creating a motive for Baker.
“Baker is going to immediately file a lawsuit against Grieco for libel and slander, making everybody believe that Baker is in that picture, because his name is in the text,” Patel told the Post. “The text is complete (baloney). Read the text. You can say anybody is that person.”
Patel also wanted to make clear that the picture of the two men with smiley faces covering their face did not include Baker, saying “Look at the size of the arms and the tats . . . It’s not (Baker).”
This story began as a robbery that may have involved two NFL players. Now? It’s a laugh out loud battle between two cartoonish lawyers. So excuse me while I buy a giant bag of popcorn because with the way this case has gone thus far, I can’t wait for what’s next.
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