USC Assistant Coach Tony Bland Hires High-Powered Attorney Amid Corruption Scandal

USC assistant basketball coach Tony Bland is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

USC assistant basketball coach Tony Bland is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Tony Bland, the USC assistant coach charged last week in the college basketball corruption and fraud scandal, has retained a veteran New York attorney who defended John Gotti Jr. and represents alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

In his first public comments about the Bland case, Jeffrey Lichtman told The Times the matter has been “heartbreaking on many levels” for the coach.

“I just spoke to him and the guy absolutely loves USC and appreciates everything they’ve done for him every step of the way in his career, even through now,” Lichtman said. “He wants the USC family to know how much he’s appreciated his time there.”

Bland hasn’t made any public comments since the FBI arrested him in Tampa, Fla., last Tuesday. He faces several charges in U.S. District Court in New York, including soliciting a bribe and wire fraud. The charges carry a maximum of 80 years in prison.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.