Authorities formally charged former New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker in August with four counts of armed robbery with a firearm, stemming from an alleged incident in May. Months later, all charges against Baker have been dropped. He is now eligible to sign with any NFL team.
According to NorthJersey.com, the Broward State Attorney's Office released a statement on Monday announcing the change in the case. Baker was awaiting arraignment on the armed robbery charges. Additionally, William Dean — an attorney representing three of the four alleged victims in the case against Baker — was arrested on Monday for extortion. He allegedly solicited a cash payout on behalf of the three men in exchange for altered testimony, saying that his clients would do "anything you want, so long as the money is right." He allegedly tried to get Baker to pay each of his clients $266,000.
The Broward State Attorney's Office decided to drop all charges since "the alleged victims and the known witnesses have become uncooperative and their credibility is inalterably tarnished," assistant state attorney Paul R. Valcore said in a statement. The state has previously moved to hold one witness in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions.
Patrick G Patel, Esq., Baker's attorney, weighed in after the news surfaced. He said that his client had always been a victim of extortion. Baker was originally accused of stealing cash and watches from four men at a house party in Florida. The punishment for robbery with a firearm is a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in state prison, provided the accused is convicted.
When the accusations surfaced, the Giants released the former first-round pick. Baker has since spent the time working out due to "knowing he was innocent." His attorneys said that Baker has been preparing in case a team signs him.
"We have been monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy," the league said in a statement, per Ian Rapoport. "Baker remains subject to discipline based on results of that investigation. At this time, and following today’s disposition, Baker is eligible to sign with a club."
A first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former University of Georgia product landed with the Giants as the 30th overall pick. He appeared in 16 games, starting 15. He registered 61 tackles and eight passes defended. Now he will search for a new opportunity — although NorthJersey.com reports that a reunion with the Giants is "unlikely."