J. Lewis' lawyers seek evidence

OWINGS MILLS – The legal team defending Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis against federal drug conspiracy charges will meet again today with prosecutors in Atlanta to try to obtain information compiled from law enforcement officials' investigation.

High-profile lawyers Ed Garland and Don Samuel are seeking 20 items held by the government, including: transcripts of recorded telephone conversations with Lewis, surveillance reports and names of alleged co-conspirators.

Lewis has been accused of helping to arrange a major cocaine deal for a childhood friend, Angelo "Pero" Jackson, during conversations with a federal informant in the summer of 2000 before he signed with the Ravens after being drafted fifth overall that spring.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker authorized this meeting centered around pretrial discovery. Lewis pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arraigned Feb. 26, and the Ravens have stood behind him since his indictment and arrest.

Lewis is free on bond, and Ravens coach Brian Billick said last week that he expects the Pro Bowl runner to attend a mandatory veterans camp next month. Lewis rushed for a league-high 2,066 yards last season.

Jackson also has an evidentiary hearing today.

No trial date has been assigned to Lewis yet.

NOTE: Several published reports have denied that quarterback Rich Gannon will be cut by the Oakland Raiders and will instead compete with Kerry Collins, preventing a potential reunion for Gannon with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden.

That could also keep Buccaneers starter Brad Johnson from being available after June 1 as a backup candidate for the Ravens.

Regardless of that scenario, the Ravens are still expected to wait until after June 1 to sign a quarterback to see who actually becomes available although they have talked with and are interested in unrestricted free agent Kordell Stewart

This backup search was prompted by Anthony Wright's shoulder surgery for a partially torn labrum and the news that he won't be available for at least the first half of the season.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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