The attorney for a former University of Kentucky men's basketball player accused of running a ticket scam totaling more than $70,000 withdrew from the case Friday moments before court proceedings.
Ed Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, has been replaced by Steve Romines, a Louisville attorney who represented Shane Ragland in Ragland's murder trial.
Davender, 43, of Georgetown has been indicted on 23 counts of theft by deception.
Lexington police had originally charged Davender with taking money from at least three people after promising them UK basketball season tickets that he didn't have.
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Last month, a Fayette County grand jury indicted Davender on charges that he unlawfully obtained money from 19 people "with the intent to permanently deprive them of the money" between May 2003 and August 2009. Investigators say the amount of money stolen ranges from $300 to $23,900. The $300 theft charge is the only one that is classified as a misdemeanor; the other charges are felonies because each involves more than $300.
Shortly after Davender's arrest in September, McFayden said the case was a big misunderstanding. He has not commented about the case since then.
Asked after Friday's arraignment why he was stepping down from the case, McFayden said it was because "sometimes conflicts come up."
After McFayden stepped down, Davender, wearing a Ralph Lauren hooded sweatshirt and dress slacks, entered a not-guilty plea. He was given a blanket $10,000 bond. The judge ordered him to not have any contact with the victims. A status hearing was scheduled for Jan. 29.
Davender, a UK basketball player in the mid- to late- 1980s, declined a request for comment after Friday's hearing. Romines said Davender's "speaking days are over."
"I took over today," Romines said. "After discovery, we'll know more. Until I've reviewed it, I can't say what my strategy will be. We'll evaluate our position then."
In addition to the Lexington charges, Davender was indicted by a Harrison County grand jury Nov. 3 on three counts of theft by deception involving more than $300.