Settlement documents in New Era Sports and Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Lake’s civil suit against Bush, his mother Denise Griffin and his stepfather LaMarr Griffin are expected to be filed in San Diego Superior Court on Thursday or Friday. The court was closed on Wednesday.
The settlement includes a confidentiality agreement preventing either side from discussing the case.
Bush, in reaching the settlement, avoids having ever been questioned under oath about a scandal that could result in the Trojans forfeiting the 2004 national championship, the 2005 season and Bush being stripped of the 2005 Heisman.
The settlement also clears the way for the NCAA to issue a ruling in its three-year investigation of the USC football and basketball programs.
Lake’s attorneys declined comment on Wednesday. Bush attorneys could not be reached for comment.
A ruling from the NCAA could come as early as next week in a probe that has not only looked at the Bush case, but probed Trojans tailback Joe McKnight’s relationship with a sports marketer whose SUV McKnight was driving and allegations that USC basketball star O.J. Mayo received gifts and cash from a representative of a sports agent and then-Trojans coach Tim Floyd.
NCAA investigators had hoped to review transcripts of sworn depositions from Bush and Michael Michaels, the financial backer behind New Era Sports and Entertainment, in the Lake lawsuit scheduled for this week before issuing a ruling on the USC case.
Michaels had been prevented from being interviewed by NCAA investigators because of a confidentiality agreement that was part of an out-of-court settlement in his lawsuit against Bush. But San Diego Superior Court Judge Steven R. Denton last week ordered Michaels to be deposed Wednesday. Denton also cleared the way for Bush to be deposed Friday.
Bush’s deposition would have been the only time the Trojans All-American was questioned about his relationship with Lake and Michaels under oath and under the penalty of perjury.
The Bush and Michaels’ depositions could have given NCAA investigators a clearer picture of when Bush and his family began receiving benefits from Lake and Michaels in violation of NCAA rules. The exact date could be important in determining how many games USC will have to forfeit.
The depositions could have detailed the extent, if any, Trojans running backs coach Todd McNair and other USC coaches and officials knew about the relationship between Bush and his family and the New Era. Former USC coach Pete Carroll, now with the Seattle Seahawks, has said he and his staff were unaware of NCAA violations. Lake, however, has alleged McNair knew about the relationship between Bush and his family and New Era.
But after resisting a settlement with Lake for more than three years, Bush attorney’s approached Lake’s attorneys this week about a possible settlement.
Bush reportedly settled with Michaels for between $200,000 and $300,000.
Lake said he provided Bush, his mother and his stepfather $291,600 in cash and gifts between November 2004, when Bush was a sophomore at USC, and January 2006 as part of a marketing agreement with Bush. Lake filed suit after he said Bush broke the marketing agreement.