Ex-USD star arraigned, pleads not guilty

April, 26, 2011
4/26/11
11:29
AM ET
It's entirely possible we're not quite grasping the magnitude of this Brandon Johnson/San Diego gambling scandal just yet. At the very least, we don't know where this is going to go, whom it could potentially implicate or what the end result for the NCAA will be when all is said and done.

So the news out of San Diego is worth watching, and we had a bit of it Monday. Johnson -- the San Diego all-time leading scorer who was charged by federal authorities for his alleged attempts to affect the outcomes of Toreros' games during and after his playing career -- plead "not guilty" in federal court Monday. He is free on a $25,000 bond and he flew home to Houston immediately following the arraignment. The appearance was unannounced and fanfare-free, most likely to keep any circus from forming outside the courtroom upon Johnson's appearance.

Johnson indicated that he didn't have the money to afford his own legal representation, so he was appointed local attorney Oliver Cleary. If Johnson is convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In other words: He'd better hope Cleary is good.

The trial setting for the case isn't likely to happen for another month, so we won't be reaching any grand revelations about the modern nature of college gambling quite so quickly. Still, once this trial does get underway -- especially now that Johnson has decided to fight the federal charges against him -- it could be a thoroughly fascinating and instructive legal watch.

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