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Wagner’s Stepfather Gets Life in Prison

December 19, 2005

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ The stepfather of former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dajuan Wagner was sentenced Monday to life in prison for trafficking in crack cocaine.

The life term was mandatory for Leonard ``Pooh″ Paulk, 37. Like other federal prisoners, he is not eligible for parole.

U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson also fined Paulk $15,000, which will be paid with his prison earnings, federal prosecutors said.

Paulk was convicted Nov. 30, 2004, of two charges: conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to distribute, and a drug-dealing count charging that in March 2002 he distributed and possessed with the intent to distribute 115 grams of crack.

The federal jury cleared Paulk of money-laundering and dealing powder cocaine.

Authorities said Paulk was a key link between drug suppliers and dealers in Camden. He was one of 14 men charged in 2003.

During the trial, his lawyers claimed that Paulk bought semiautomatic weapons in 2002 not to protect a drug operation but to protect his wife and stepson from a kidnapping plot.

Ten of the men pleaded guilty, including some who became government witnesses in the case against Paulk and the three others. One of those three was acquitted. The jury did not reach a verdict against the two others, who later pleaded guilty.

Wagner has not played in the NBA this season. He became a free agent after appearing in just 11 games for Cleveland last season. The former Camden High School star was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft after one year at Memphis.

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