Attorney for Austin White says allegations are ‘not true,’ questions CMU police investigation
The attorney for Austin White said allegations against the former Central Michigan football player are “not true” and “unfounded.”
Mary Chartier, of Lansing-based Alane & Chartier, P.L.C., told Central Michigan Life Tuesday that the sophomore running back will not enter a plea agreement and plans to fight the three-count drug charge.
“I think the charges are unfortunate, unfounded and I have a lot of faith in the justice system, and I know Austin and his family do as well,” Chartier said. “Ultimately, whether it’s dismissed or a not guilty verdict by a jury, I think Austin will be vindicated of the charges.”
White, from Livonia, turned himself in to CMU police Wednesday after the department issued a warrant for his arrest on April 17. An investigation into a larceny from a vehicle, that netted the arrests of CMU football players Danel Harris and Deon Butler, led police to a terrace-level Celani Residence Hall dorm where White and roommate Joe Sawicki were allegedly growing and selling the hallucinogenic psilocybin.
Sawicki and Harris were arrested April 17. White faces a three-count felony charge of delivery and manufacturing narcotics, possession of narcotics and maintaining a drug house.
Chartier, after learning of the raid of the Celani residence hall room, said she tried getting in contact with the detective in charge of the case for three days prior to White’s arrest, but did not get a response. She said she did not get confirmation of the arrest warrant until the morning of April 18, and questioned why the detective failed to contact her before then.
“It is unusual, at least in my experience, that the police wouldn’t take the opportunity to speak with someone they suspected of committing a crime,” Chartier said. “That’s where I think they rushed to judgment based on allegations that are not true. If they actually talked to him, I think we would have a different result.
“But that’s certainly their choice; they don’t have to speak to someone beforehand and obviously they chose not to do it. But I don’t think that speaks to a thorough investigation.”
White, along with Sawicki and Harris, was released from the CMU football program Wednesday. In a statement, head coach Dan Enos said the university holds its student-athletes to high standards, and “actions that do not represent CMU and the community with pride have no place on our campus and will not be tolerated.”
Chartier says she understands why the coaching staff decided to release White, citing pressure from university officials and distractions heading into the season, but ultimately disagreed with the move.
“If the police had done a more thorough job in investigating, we wouldn’t have even had charges brought,” she said. “With that being said, the coaches are under a very different standard then the police are. I know Austin doesn’t have a negative comment for the coaches and neither do I. They have a very different set of rules to abide by.”
A date has not been set for White’s next appearance in Isabella County Trial Court.
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