‘Big Baby’ Disability Claims Denied in Healthcare Fraud Case

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)
Spread the love

Former NBA player Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who federal prosecutors accuse of conspiring to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, has been denied the chance to introduce testimony from a prominent neuropsychologist about his alleged intellectual deficits.

Last Friday, Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York ruled that testimony by professor Elise Caccappolo van Vliet, the director of neuropsychology service at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is inadmissible when Caproni presides over a trial featuring Davis and other defendants on Nov. 6.

More from

In 2021, Davis and 17 former NBA players were charged with submitting false invoices to health care providers and defrauding the NBA and NBPA’s collectively bargained Health and Welfare Benefit Plan. The case expanded last year with the charging of additional defendants.

Davis, who played nine NBA seasons between 2007 and 2015 and earned $34.4 million in salaries, filed a $27,200 claim for crowns supposedly performed by a dentist in Beverly Hills on Oct. 2, 2018. Prosecutors argue Davis wasn’t in California that day; the geolocation data for his cellphone shows he was in Utah and Nevada, and he also flew from Las Vegas to Paris.

Several players, including former Nets swingman and so-called fraud “ringleader” Terrence Williams, have negotiated plea deals. Last month, Caproni sentenced Williams to 10 years in prison.

Davis, 37, hoped to rely on the testimony of Caccappolo, who last November performed a neuropsychological evaluation of him and interviewed his family members. She determined his Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale performance “fulfills criteria for a diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability—defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by intellectual deficits, i.e., reasoning, abstract thinking, learning, both experiential and academic—as well as difficulties in conceptual, social and practical areas of living.”

“[Davis] does not have the ability to knowingly engage and/or maintain a role such as that of which he is accused, as it was explained to me,” Caccappolo wrote. “He would not be able to read a form and fill it out accurately. He lacks basic conceptual skills such as effective language, reading and writing, math/money concepts, and self-direction … he would be unable to perform tasks associated with the activities he is accused of, such as submitting false paperwork or invoices. Anecdotally, I note that Mr. Davis is incapable of making a simple appointment or travel arrangements. He is simply unable to plan and execute an itinerary.”

Attorneys for Davis—who played for the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers—maintain Caccappolo’s testimony is crucial to ensuring Davis receives a fair trial. They noted in a court filing that Davis “has limited cognitive abilities” and that “one of the ways in which he is affected by his mental disability is that he is unable to handle conflict or pressure and is easily taken advantage of by others.”

To that point, Davis’ attorneys stressed that “his nickname—Big Baby—recognizes these cognitive and emotional limitations.”

Davis, who was listed at 6-foot-9 and 289 pounds during his playing days, has previously said the nickname came about when he was young because of his large size.

While speaking to a group of children from New Hampshire in 2009, Davis said “Big Baby” stems from when he was born.

“I was a big baby, literally. I was 14 pounds. [The nickname] just stuck with me throughout my career.”

Davis gave a somewhat different account in 2006, telling LSU Sports the name “started when I was nine years old.” Davis explained he “was a big, big, big toddler” and that in Baton Rouge, where he grew up, he was “way over” the weight limit for 9-year-olds. So he had to play with kids as much as three years older, which led to him being “picked on a lot” and him “whining” about it. Davis said his coach told him to “stop crying, you big baby” and that overtime he said he’s “grown” to love the nickname.

A feature in The New York Times on Davis in 2006 offered yet another nickname origin story, claiming “Big Baby” reflected Davis’ penchant for crying when his team lost and when he helped to care for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

If Davis takes the stand during the trial, expect the nickname to come up during witness questioning given that it could be used to bolster his defense.

In 2008, Davis was in a car crash while driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike to play in a Celtics-New York Knicks game and was hospitalized with whiplash and a concussion. Davis suffered another concussion two years later when Dwight Howard elbowed him in the face during a playoff game.

Prosecutors argued that Caccappolo’s testimony shouldn’t be admissible, and Caproni agreed.

The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 governs the admissibility of mental insanity or incapacity as a defense to a criminal charge. A defendant can introduce evidence of mental health to negate the intent element of a crime. The government must prove Davis had the intent to defraud or further a conspiracy.

A core problem with Caccappolo’s testimony, Caproni explained, is that the IDRA precludes testimony that a defendant lacked the capacity to form the necessary mental state and some of Caccappolo’s testimony concerned that issue.

Caproni also objected on grounds Caccappolo didn’t “base her clinical diagnosis on a review of medical records regarding events that predated the alleged criminal activity” and that she relied on an ESPN article—not medical evaluation of the impact of injuries—regarding Davis suffering concussions during his career. Caproni also concluded that the expert report didn’t explain why Davis lacked the required mental state.

The trial for Davis and other defendants, including former NBA player Will Bynum, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 in Courtroom 443 of New York City’s Thurgood Marshall Courthouse. If convicted, Davis could face a sentence of many years in prison. Caproni’s ruling on Caccappolo’s testimony would be one grounds of a potential appeal for Davis to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

(This story has been updated in the headline.)

Click here to read the full article.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)

News Agencies

About Author

The latest news from the News Agencies

You may also like

italy wins uefa euro 2020

Italy wins on penalties UEFA EURO 2020 Final, Italy vs England highlights:

Spread the loveItaly wins the UEFA Euro 2020 Final: Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties as the Azzurri claimed their second
raybak abdesselem
Editor Picks Sports

Raybak Abdesselem is excited to be a part of Olympics 2024

Spread the loveIf ever you are looking for a story to be inspired by, then there are few better people