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Magic to testify as witness in Draymond Green lawsuit

David Debolt
The Mercury News

Oakland, Calif. — Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness in a former Michigan State University football player’s lawsuit against Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, according to court documents.

Attorneys for Jermaine Edmondson, who is suing Green over an alleged 2016 assault, want to question Johnson about a tweet he posted following the incident outside a Michigan restaurant.

The NBA Hall of Famer and current Los Angeles Lakers executive in a July 2016 post wrote that he had a conversation with Green, and “he was very apologetic to the Warriors organization, fans and everyone involved.”

Johnson and Green both starred at Michigan State.

The subpoena requested on Sept. 7 by Edmondson’s attorneys, The Bloom Firm, requires Johnson to appear and give a deposition Oct. 4 at a Lakers practice facility in Los Angeles. Attorney A. Douglas Mastroianni is requesting that Johnson provide any documents or social media posts regarding Edmondson and his girlfriend, Bianca Williams, according to court records.

“This is a case in which there are few eyewitnesses other than the parties themselves. This means that it is especially important to find out what Mr. Green told others about what happened,” plaintiff attorney Lisa Bloom wrote in an email.

Attempts to reach Johnson through a Lakers spokesperson were unsuccessful. A court filing quoting his attorney said he will comply with the subpoena.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Aaron Burbridge has also been subpoenaed to testify on Oct. 17 in Oakland, Calif. Burbridge, a former Michigan State standout, is asked to bring relevant text messages and other communications between himself and Green, court documents show.

The depositions are part of the July 25 lawsuit filed by Edmondson and Williams, which seeks damages for assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress. The couple accuse Green of striking Edmondson in the face after Edmondson confronted Green about a run-in they had the previous night. Green was arrested but avoided jail time and paid a fine as part of a plea deal.

The civil lawsuit puts Green’s character on trial, even in otherwise mundane court filings. Over the past month, in an attempt to persuade a judge that California is the proper venue for the suit, Edmondson’s attorneys have used news articles of Green’s off-court behavior — driving 118 mph on an Oakland freeway, posting a lewd photo on Snapchat — as court exhibits.

Attorneys for the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year have filed a motion to dismiss the suit on the basis that the Golden State does not have jurisdiction to hear the case because the alleged assault occurred in Michigan, also where Green has his permanent home. His attorney, James Heos, did not respond to a request for comment, and Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder said the team had no comment.

Bloom, however, said several relevant witnesses either live in or closer to California, including Johnson and Arizona resident Leon Coleman. In a declaration filed in August, Coleman, a retired referee, said Green acted aggressively in response to being called for two offensive fouls during a 2013 charity basketball tournament. After the first foul, Green threw the ball across the court; after the second, he screamed and cursed at Coleman “for minutes on end,” he wrote.

Green called him a “half-ass referee” at halftime, and his antics caused one attendee to write to the Warriors and his college coach at Michigan State,Tom Izzo, according to the declaration.

“I noticed the looks on the faces of people in the stands,” Coleman wrote. “Some people looked appalled, especially parents with young kids who were watching. Other people were laughing, which was humiliating. I believe they would not have laughed at me if Draymond Green were not a rich athlete, especially because he is so famous for being rude, violent and dramatic on the court.”

The motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard Nov. 16 in Alameda County Superior Court.