DA: Conor McGregor's cell phone case sunk by changed testimony, credibility issues

Miami prosecutors believed they had a solid case against Conor McGregor after hearing testimony and watching video where he smashed a fan’s cell phone. That evaporated once the alleged victim refused to cooperate, and charges were dropped.

Two weeks after U.K. native Ahmed Abdirzak agreed to cooperate, prosecutors say his attorney informed them he’d “been made whole” by McGregor and had changed his mind about the encounter. Abdirzak subsequently stopped returning phone calls and returned to his native England, according to a “close-out memo” issued by the Miami state attorney’s office.

Abdirzak’s attorney, Santiago Cueto, told assistant state attorney Khalil Madani that his client “has had some time to reflect on his encounter with Mr. McGregor and … no longer believes McGregor ‘sought to injure or damage him or his property or permanently or temporarily deprive him of his property.’”

Prosecutors concluded they couldn’t rely on witnesses to testify on Adbirzak’s behalf about the alleged crime. They believed that even if the state produced him at trial, “he has credibility issues as he’s changed his previously sworn testimony,” the memo stated. As such, a felony charge of robbery by sudden snatching and misdemeanor criminal mischief couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

McGregor, 30, was briefly jailed on felony charges of second-degree strongarm robbery and third-degree criminal mischief after he allegedly took Abdirzak’s phone and stomped on it before making off with the device. Abdirzak said he was trying to take a photo of McGregor outside the Fontainbleau hotel around 5 a.m. on March 11 when the Irish star approached him as if seeking a handshake, only to snatch the phone.

McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) faced up to 20 years in prison on the initial charges. But when the value of Adbirzak’s phone was later downgraded, they were reduced to robbery by sudden snatching, a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which exposed him to six years in prison.

“Everything’s above board the way they did it,” former Florida prosecutor Paul Walsh told MMA Junkie. “If McGregor was trying to pay him directly, without a civil case, then he would have been in trouble for trying to tamper with or bribe a witness.

“But when there’s a civil action open, they’re free to negotiate terms and money. The way they did it is the way you’re supposed to do it, so it doesn’t look improper.”

Adbirzak filed a civil lawsuit against McGregor shortly after the criminal case was opened, but dropped it early this past month.

“Even though it’s closed now, when they reached those terms, that was all done above board, legally speaking,” Walsh out said. “Works out good for (McGregor). I don’t know what it cost him, but I’m sure it worked out for him.”

Any conviction would have had dire consequences on McGregor’s ability to travel to the U.S. But with the charges dropped, he’s a free man. It’s the second time he’s avoided serious legal repercussions after striking a plea deal with New York prosecutors on his infamous bus attack stemming from UFC 229.

Of course, McGregor’s legal troubles may not be limited to the U.S. According to a report in the New York Times, he’s the subject of a criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault in his native Dublin.

Despite the looming issues, McGregor has been an active presence on social media, promoting his signature whiskey and praising UFC fights. Although he retired in March, he’s been filmed training since.

McGregor’s last fight came this past November when he was submitted by UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. The rivals brawled in the cage immediately afterward, prompting the Nevada Athletic Commission to suspend them both. McGregor’s six-month term expired in April.

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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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