D.C. Assault co-founder Curtis Malone plans to cite the “community support” he engendered while building one of the nation’s top youth basketball programs when he makes a final attempt to be released on bond next week, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
Malone, who was indicted on federal drug trafficking charges last month, was initially denied bond but has appealed that decision. His arguments will include 12 letters of support from community figures, including Maryland men’s basketball assistant coach Dalonte Hill and former Duke basketball star Nolan Smith, Malone’s stepson.
The letters, according to court documents filed by Malone on Thursday, “strengthen the Appeal by demonstrating the community support for Mr. Malone and highlighting the fact that because he is a valued member of both his community and family that he is not a flight risk.”
Last Friday, Malone retained high-profile Washington defense attorney Billy Martin to represent him in the case. Martin previously represented Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in his federal dogfighting case, and his past clients also include former NBA stars Allen Iverson and Jayson Williams as well as Chandra Levy’s parents and Monica Lewinsky’s mother.
Along with submitting letters of support, Malone informed the court that he will request to be released with the supervision of “a third-party custodian” or under a court-appointed supervision program in order to demonstrate he is not a danger to the community. In a court hearing on Monday, Judge Ellen S. Huvelle indicated she would consider such an alternative if Malone were to be granted bond.
Malone’s bond hearing is scheduled to take place Friday. He is facing five to 40 years in prison and a fine of $5 million to $25 million after being arrested last month for allegedly conspiring to distribute large amounts of cocaine and heroin with two others for at least three years.
Malone, 45, founded D.C. Assault in 1993 with Troy Weaver, currently the vice president and assistant general manager of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. The organization became one of the nation’s most prominent youth basketball programs, although its future remains in flux.
Under Armour, the Baltimore-based shoe company that sponsors D.C. Assault, did not respond to multiple requests by The Washington Post asking for confirmation of media reports that D.C. Assault will change its name to D.C. Premier. D.C. Assault Director of Basketball Operations Damon Handon declined to comment on the situation but said he would be involved with youth basketball next spring.
Most of the letters submitted in support of Malone on Thursday reference his work with D.C. Assault, though none came from current members of the program.
Hill, who began his coaching career with D.C. Assault before becoming one of the nation’s highest-paid college basketball assistants, wrote that Malone “basically raised me” after the two met 23 years ago and “I wouldn’t have gone to college if not for him emphasizing how important it was for me to obtain a college degree.”
Hill helped persuade O’Connell guard and D.C. Assault product Romelo Trimble to orally commit to Maryland this past year. While at Kansas State, he recruited D.C. Assault products Michael Beasley, Jamar Samuels and Rodney McGruder.
Smith was a 2011 first-round draft pick by the Portland Trail Blazers who plays professionally in Croatia. He wrote that “Curtis Malone is a life changer” and described how Malone opened up his Upper Marlboro home and offered support to “families that were struggling.”
Smith’s mother and Malone’s wife, Monica Malone, had perhaps the most sobering take before declaring that her husband was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community if granted bond.
“Today, I am still in shock,” she wrote. “I never saw this coming.”