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Clippers commentator Michael Smith pleads not guilty to grand theft charges

January 7, 2010 | 12:24 pm
Clippers commentator Michael Smith pleaded not guilty to grand theft charges in Orange County Superior Court this morning.

Smith, 44, is accused of stealing $735,000 from an acquaintance to finance a development deal that went bad. Smith remains free after posting a $25,000 bond today. A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 5.

According to prosecutors, Smith and business partner Bruce Furst persuaded a retired teacher into using his home as collateral for a loan to finance a development project in Dana Point. However, the deal fell apart when the local real estate market plummeted. The man, who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, is expected to lose his home.

Smith's lawyer said his client has done nothing illegal and that he intends to pay back the alleged victim.

-- Austin Knoblauch

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