Grand jury interviews Hansburg for three hours

Updated: July 23, 2004, 7:49 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The top football official at the University of Colorado met for nearly three hours Friday with a statewide grand jury investigating the program's recruiting practices.

Director of football operations David Hansburg declined to comment on what he told the panel, which has been meeting since May, before leaving the courthouse with attorney Nancy Holton.

"We are done," she said.

Holton represented one of two football players cleared of sexual assault allegations earlier this year involving an incident in August 2002. Holton has accused police of racial profiling for targeting her client because he is black. She declined to confirm whether she also was representing Hansburg.

Other witnesses at the courthouse included David Grimm, a former spokesman for the university during the 1990s, and Theresa Bradbury, a Boulder police investigator from 1996 until last month. Campus police Detective Brannon Winn, who investigated allegations that prostitutes were hired for recruits and accusations of assault at a party in December 2001, was also present.

None of the witnesses would comment to reporters.

"Until the grand jury gives me permission to speak, I just feel as though I can't," Grimm said after his 2½-hour appearance before the panel.

The grand jury investigation is the first indication criminal charges may be filed in a scandal that has led to sweeping changes in the football recruiting program and a scathing review of university leadership.

At the governor's request, Attorney General Ken Salazar's office is investigating the scandal, including claims by nine women since 1997 that they were sexually assaulted by football players or recruits.

Salazar decided against filing assault charges, citing evidentiary concerns and the reluctance of the women to go forward with the cases.

The grand jury investigation, however, has heard from a parade of players and others over the past two months. Legal experts have said they think investigators are trying to figure out whether university funds were misused, among other things. Salazar's office has declined to comment.

Among the witnesses who have already testified is Pasha Cowan, who has said former recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey paid her former escort service $2,000 in cash over a 45-day period between June 2002 and July 2003.

Maxcey, who has also testified, says any liaisons were for him. Cowan and her attorney, however, said Maxcey hired escorts for football players.

Earlier this year, Hansburg said Cowan told him about Maxcey's sexual liaisons during a call in which she asked for a job. According to Hansburg, Cowan said, "I'm not trying to blackmail you."

Cowan has disputed any suggestion of extortion.

A Board of Regents investigative commission concluded earlier this year that university officials did not condone any misconduct but repeatedly failed to properly oversee the athletics department. The commission, which lacked subpoena power, urged the attorney general to look into the circumstances surrounding Maxcey.

Still pending in the scandal are federal lawsuits filed by three women who say they were raped by recruits or players at or just after an off-campus party in December 2001. Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan's allegation that the school uses sex and alcohol to entice recruits -- made in a deposition last fall for one of the suits -- helped spark the scandal.

The lawsuits accuse Colorado of failing to protect the women under federal Title IX law, which guarantees equal access to an education. They seek unspecified damages.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press