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Ex-Cowboy Lockhart sentenced to 4 ½ years in jail

Ex-Cowboy Lockhart sentenced to 4 ½ years in jail

DALLAS (AP) With several ex-Cowboys sitting in the courtroom gallery, a federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former linebacker Eugene Lockhart Jr. to 4 1/2 years in prison for his admitted role in using fraudulent mortgage papers to swindle home lenders out of millions and potential home buyers out of their credit.

Lockhart pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Nine others indicted have already been sentenced.

U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis listened to pleas from Hall of Famer Randy White and fellow ex-Cowboy Kevin Smith, but in the end, Lockhart's fame from his playing days appeared to hurt more than help. Solis pointed out that he had heard from several victims who were taken in by Lockhart businesses named after the Cowboys and ``America's Team.'' Some victims had their lives ruined, he said.

``You can deny it all you want to, but I heard the testimony,'' the judge added.

Lockhart admitted to being part of an effort to use fraudulent loan paperwork to deceive mortgage lenders while buying homes in the Dallas area. Prosecutors say some of Lockhart's co-defendants recruited potential home buyers with bonuses and promises of help with their mortgage payments.

Solis sentenced Lockhart before a courtroom packed with family members, friends and ex-Cowboys, including White and team legends Ed ``Too Tall'' Jones and Drew Pearson.

White and others spoke in support of Lockhart and described him as a warm and generous but not a good businessman. White said he had known Lockhart for three decades. Several people in the audience laughed when he talked about their days playing for famed Cowboys ex-coach Tom Landry.

Solis did not. He stared silently at White without any reaction.

Later, as he sentenced Lockhart, Solis brought up the victims he had heard testify earlier.

``Mr. Lockhart, because of his name, was able to bring in clients'' who were then misled, Solis said. He added about Wednesday's audience, ``Of course, these folks don't know that.''

Lockhart was drafted by the Cowboys in 1984 and played seven seasons for the team, earning the nickname ``Mean Gene'' for his physical play. After his playing career ended, Lockhart sometimes wouldn't show up for work until the early afternoon, said John Villarreal, a friend and former business partner.

``He is a football player,'' Villarreal said. ``That's what he likes to do, and did very well.''

Lockhart's attorney, Jay Ethington, called his client a ``figurehead'' whose name was misused by smarter people. And Lockhart himself apologized, saying he had stepped into a game in which he didn't understand all the rules - and then didn't speak up when he saw wrongdoing.

``It looked good, the money looked good, and I fell into it,'' Lockhart said.

Prosecutor David Jarvis called on Solis not to give Lockhart a ``special break'' due to his playing days.

``Borrower after borrower after borrower, their credit was ruined,'' Jarvis said.

Ethington argued that his client had severe health problems and could not remember all the details about the scheme for authorities due to seven concussions suffered during his playing days. But Solis dismissed that claim.

``I'm not convinced, frankly,'' Solis said.

Ethington - who had asked for Solis to consider home confinement so Lockhart could get more medical treatment - said after court that he thought Lockhart's fame hurt the case.

``He had this celebrity status that really shouldn't enter into it,'' Ethington said.

Lockhart declined to comment after the hearing. Solis ordered him to report to prison Jan. 16.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.