Update: An Orange County jury acquitted him Tuesday. Smith says, "I'm relieved, obviously, but mostly I'm just grateful to the judge and jury who saw to it (that) the truth came out." First posted on Oct. 27 at 8:03 a.m.
When you borrow $735,000 from a pal and don't pay it back, is that grand theft? That's the quandary facing Clippers basketball announcer Mike Smith, whose trial on alleged grand theft from his late friend Bill Steinriede started in this week in Orange County.
We feel sorry for him: Not only does he announce for a team no one within 3,000 miles cares about, but his friend (the lender) died, and now he's facing serious charges thanks to an eager Orange County District Attorney's office.
Bill Steinriede died Oct. 5 from a brain tumor, but the trial is going forward.
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According to our friends at OC Weekly, Smith wanted the cash to develop property in tony Dana Point. He hounded Steinriede until he agreed to put up his home as collateral for the money. Prosecutors argue:
Smith assured Steinriede that he would be the sole recipient of a promissory note; that the loan was billed as safe and guaranteed; that it would be repaid within two months; and that Smith would sell his own home before letting the investor lose his.
None of that happened.
Is Smith a thief or just a sore loser?