Flamboyant Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen, aka the Birdman, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in what is being called a wide-ranging Internet hoax that resulted in a raid of his Denver-area home in 2012.
In May 2012, the 35-year-old baller’s Denver residence was raided by sheriff’s deputies, as part of an investigation by the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit. At the time, the circumstances of the investigation were unknown.
This week, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Pinto told the AP that they’re reviewing a 4,000-page report before any decision on charges are made, but added that “based on the information that we have been able to obtain and analyze, we are not pursuing charges against Chris Andersen.”
Andersen’s lawyer and agent, Mark Bryant, said his client was duped by a woman in Canada, who sought a relationship and gifts and who threatened a female acquaintance of him in California, while impersonating the NBA player.
Furthermore, Bryant said neither Andersen nor his acquaintance realized they weren’t communicating with each other online or via cellphone texts, but rather were communicating with the woman in Canada, who impersonated one to the other.
“Chris was a victim,” said Bryant, adding that the investigation uncovered at least a dozen people from various states who were also duped by the same woman who’s been charged in Canada.
The investigation has led to the January arrest of Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, who resides in the Canadian province of Manitoba. She’s been charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and utter threats, and is due in court October 22.
Though Andersen wasn’t arrested or charged at the time, the Denver Nuggets excused him from all team-related activities… and would release him under the NBA’s amnesty clause.
It worked out for Anderson, though, who signed with Miami last winter and helped the Heat win their second straight NBA title. He’s since signed a one-year deal to return this season.
The Heat released a statement saying, “We are not surprised that this is the end result. We are happy for Chris and glad this unfortunate incident is behind him.”