Braswell’s son, player likely to go to trial

Adolfo Flores

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Following a weekend of celebration for the CSUN men’s basketball team after qualifying for the NCAA tournament, their coach, Bobby Braswell, was in San Fernando Superior Court early Monday as one of his players and his son, faced felony theft charges.

After an eight-hour day in court, with four witnesses taking the stand, it appears as if Jeffrey Braswell and Deon Tresvant’s case will go to trial after today’s arguments.

‘The standards for a case to go to trial are fairly low,’ said Mark Williams, Braswell’s attorney, who refused to comment on the current case.

This comes as Braswell and Tresvant, CSUN’s leading scorer, pleaded not guilty in late February to theft charges totaling more than $7,000. Braswell and Tresvant are accused of stealing from a Porter Ranch Best Buy on Jan 1.

Braswell was charged with one count of second-degree commercial burglary and three felony counts of grand theft over $400. Tresvant was charged with one count of second-degree commercial burglary and grand theft more than $400.

Also involved was freshman reserve, Dallas Rutherford, who worked out a deal and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft last month. He was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete 200 hours of Caltrans service. ‘Coach Carter’ co-star Phannuel Gbewonyo, also faces felony theft charges.

While Los Angeles Police Department detective John Macchiarella was being questioned by the prosecution, he revealed that it wasn’t the first time Braswell was involved in such an incident.

‘The very first incident was in the first week of December,’ Macchiarella said. ‘But we’re not able to prove it in court.’

Braswell who was working at Best Buy at the time of the alleged incident was accused of logging into a cash register using another employee’s login and password. The sales operator, who testified, said Braswell asked her if her login was working because his wasn’t.

Alicia Ortiz said she logged into the register Braswell claimed he couldn’t log in to, which holds no cash and is usually used only by technical support, as he stood over her right shoulder.

Ortiz also said she saw Braswell make a transaction for two Mac laptops and ‘commended’ him for the sale.

Prosecutors alleged that Braswell continued to use the login at the register to make it seem as if he was ringing people up for items (such as an X-Box and PS3 consoles, when in fact he wasn’t taking any money for the items.)

Braswell allegedly woud then call Tresvant, Rutherford and Gbewonyo telling them to come into the store and steal the merchandise.

There is no video evidence of the incident, said Ernie Colncion, area asset protection manager at Best Buy. However Colncion became aware of the alleged stolen merchandise after the registers used in question were short more than $7,000.

If the case goes to trial coach Braswell is likely to be a witness, said prosecutor Jeffrey Stodel. The alleged stolen merchandise was given to him by the parties involved and returned them to Best Buy, he said.