Update: After news broke yesterday that Chris "Birdman" Andersen's Larkspur home had been searched in relation to a child-porn investigation, we've heard from authorities, but not from representatives of the inquiry's target. Now, however, Andersen's attorney has stepped forward, asserting that his client is the target of an extortion attempt and has not done anything illegal.
Lawyer Colin Bresee, who spoke with us back in August 2011 about THC driving limits, provided a statement to the Denver Post. In it, he asserted that beginning in 2010, Andersen had received numerous letters, some featuring racy photos, from a female fan claiming to be 21 years old. The following year, she flew to Colorado, "showing her required identification," according to the statement. When she left, she allegedly was upset by Andersen's lack of interest in her, and by 2012, "she threatened to retaliate if he did not provide financial remuneration" -- bounty represented by someone claiming to be her mother as items on her Amazon and Victoria's Secret wish lists plus $5,000 in cash, the statement asserts.
"The media has been speculating that he's a suspect and not a victim in a criminal investigation," Bresee wrote. "Mr. Andersen has been fully cooperative with the authorities. The investigation is expected to take three weeks. We're confident it will show that Chris did not engage in any criminal conduct."
In the meantime, Andersen remains "excused" from activities involving the Denver Nuggets, who are scheduled to play game seven in their playoffs series against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. Continue reading to see our previous coverage.
Update by Michael Roberts, 8:35 a.m. May 11: Oh how times have changed. As William Breathes pointed out in original coverage on view below, popular Denver Nuggets longtimer Chris "Birdman" Andersen's house was searched yesterday as part of a child-pornography investigation -- about a year and a half after the NBA shared a photo of him playing Santa Claus to a young mohawk-wearing fan. See the full-size shot below.
At this point, Andersen has not been arrested or charged with a crime. However, 7News reports that computer hardware was seized from his Larkspur residence. According to the station, the gadgetry was sent to the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Centennial, for presumed analysis of the information on the hard drive.
Because this process can take weeks, Andersen's exoneration or arrest may not be imminent. But in its release about the law-enforcement action, the Nuggets organization stressed that he has been "excused" from the team, as opposed to being suspended. Here's the statement:
The Denver Nuggets are aware of today's media reports involving forward/center Chris Andersen. It involves a legal investigation and we are awaiting further details.
Chris has been excused from all team-related activities indefinitely as he deals with the reported investigation. Per team policy, the Nuggets will not comment on any ongoing legal circumstance involving any player or employee.
Likewise, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hasn't removed material featuring Andersen's endorsement of "ink, not mink" -- at least not as of this writing. Check out this image from the organization's website:
A pro-PETA video starring Andersen is also still featured on the page. However, all articles and photos about Birdman that would normally come up in a search of his name on NBA.com are gone -- including this shot from late 2010 of Andersen posing as Santa Claus alongside a child outfitted with a youthful variation on his trademark hairstyle. The absence of Birdman from last night's playoffs game against the Los Angeles Lakers was hardly felt. After all, he's played little in the past month or two and was already seen as expandable before the Douglas County Sheriff's Office made its investigation public. And despite the distraction, the Nugs won going away.
Here's the aforementioned PETA video starring Andersen, followed by our previous coverage:
Original item, 1 p.m. May 10: Inked-up Denver Nugget Chris Andersen's home in Larkspur is currently being searched by the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, headed by the Douglas County Sherriff's Department.
According to a report issued by the Douglas County Sherriff's office (see that release below), the department received a tip form a "California law enforcement agency" back in February, and has been investigating him since then.
The office also says it has seized property from the home that investigators believe is relative to the case, but that Andersen, who has previously held youth basketball camps in Colorado, has not been arrested or charged with any crimes.
Andersen, 33, has seen little playing time these last few months of the regular season or in the playoffs for the Nuggets.
9News reporter Jeremy Jojola reported via twitter that police are not releasing anymore information about the case.
Westword will update this post as more becomes available.
Here is the text of the Douglas County statement:
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WHAT: Douglas County Sheriff's Office Executes Search Warrant At Larkspur Residence
NARRATIVE: On 05/10/12 The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) executed a Search warrant at Christopher C. Andersen (33 YO) residence in Larkspur CO.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit began investigating Andersen in February 2012 in reference information that was provided by a law enforcement agency in California.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office took over the criminal investigation at that time.
DCSO has recovered property from the residence that we believe is connected to this case.
This is a search warrant and no arrests have been made.
This is an active and on-going investigation and no further information is available at this time.
Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Page down to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen.
More from our Sports archive: "Photos: Chris 'Birdman' Andersen goodbye even though he's still on Nuggets?"