- J.A. Adande, ESPN Senior Writer
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It would be the first time Bush faced extended questioning about accusations that he received almost $300,000 in cash and benefits by representatives of a fledgling sports marketing agency between November 2004 and January 2006, when he played at Southern California. The allegations could cause USC to forfeit games and Bush to lose the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005 if they are proven true. Bush has denied any wrongdoing, but has not met with NCAA and Pacific-10 investigators.
Brian Watkins, Lake's attorney, said Bush's representatives were served notice last week, and that Bush will be deposed in Watkins' San Diego office.
Lake is suing for breach of contract. He claims he provided Bush with cash, including $13,000 to buy a Chevrolet Impala, and that his business partner, Michael Michaels, provided Bush's parents with a home for which they did not pay rent. Michaels and Lake's proposed agency, New Era Sports and Entertainment, went defunct after Bush selected Mike Ornstein as his sports marketer. (Michaels reached a settlement with Bush last year).
"The truth is going to come out," Watkins said.
"He's going to be required to produce all financial records regarding the purchase of his vehicle, all financial records, including canceled rent checks, for [his parents'] residence in Spring Valley, as well as his condominium in Los Angeles. He's going to finally have to answer all the tough questions that he's been avoiding. It's going to be funny to see whether or not he tries to duck and dodge this deposition."
Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, declined to comment.
Last month Bush called Lake's accusations "cowardice."
"They don't want to see us in the courtroom," Bush told ESPN.com's Sam Alipour. "The lawyers are ducking and dodging us. The hang-up is they don't want to give us their deposition. But at the same time, they're doing interviews and making the media rounds?...It's like a trash talker on the field. If you're serious, meet me on the 50-yard line."
Lake has been scheduled to give a deposition in San Diego on Tuesday for several weeks. Watkins said LaMar Griffin, Bush's stepfather, is scheduled to be deposed on Feb. 27, and Denise Griffin, Bush's mother, will be deposed on March 4.
Lake's story has been detailed in a series of reports by Yahoo Sports, in a report on HBO's "Real Sports" and in the book "Tarnished Heisman" by Don Yaeger and Jim Henry.
Watkins said he will share any information gleaned from the deposition with NCAA investigators.
"We're cooperating fully," Watkins said. "We would like third party, independent people to question this. Third-party investigating agencies will bolster my client's credibility."
J.A. Adande is the author of "The Best Los Angeles Sports Arguments." He joined ESPN.com in August 2007 after 10 years with the Los Angeles Times. Click here to e-mail him.