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Former NBA star Antoine Walker’s casino debt case moves to district court

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Mona Shield Payne/Special to the Sun

Former NBA all-star Antoine Walker waits to be called by Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson during his arraignment hearing Monday, June 14, 2010, on failing to repay $900,000 in gambling debts at the Regional Justice Center.

Updated Monday, June 14, 2010 | 10:08 a.m.

Antoine Walker

Former NBA all-star Antoine Walker appears in court for his arraignment hearing on failing to repay $900,000 in gambling debts Monday, June 14, at the Regional Justice Center. Launch slideshow »

Former NBA all-star Antoine Walker will appear later this month in Clark County District Court to face felony bad check charges for failing to meet obligations to repay some $900,000 in gambling debts and penalties to three Las Vegas casinos.

The 6-foot-9 Walker appeared briefly this morning in Las Vegas Justice Court, where he reaffirmed he had agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing before Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson.

Andress-Tobiasson set Walker's initial appearance in district court for 1:30 p.m. June 30 on criminal charges that could get him up to 12 years in prison.

Walker, who has filed for bankruptcy, claims $12.7 million in liabilities and $4.3 million in assets -- including the 2006 NBA championship ring Walker won with the Miami Heat.

According to prosecutors, Walker has paid about $135,000 toward settling his casino debts to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort.

Walker played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008. He won a championship in 2006 with the Miami Heat and was a three-time all-star for the Boston Celtics. He hasn't played in the NBA since 2008, but played briefly in Puerto Rico during the 2009-10 season.

On Nov. 30, Walker had waived his right to a preliminary hearing with the understanding that he would make monthly payments on the restitution, Andress-Tobiasson said this morning during the hearing.

"And nothing has been paid thus far," the judge said.

At his last court appearance on June 1, it was determined that Walker would appear to be sent up to district court on those charges, the judge said to his attorney.

"So sir, you already did unconditionally waive your preliminary hearing back in November," she said to him. "All we're going to do today is just send this up to district court."

The judge said one of two things will happen in district court.

"You will either get it resolved and pay the restitution — I assume if it is paid it will ultimately be reduced — or you'll go to trial or otherwise deal with it up at district court," she told Walker. Walker didn't speak during the hearing and quickly left the Clark County Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas without talking to reporters.

Walker, who has no prior record, faces three counts of drawing a check without sufficient funds from a bank with attempt to defraud.

The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that Walker was working out with coach Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville to try to get into playing shape for an NBA comeback.

Walker played under Pitino at the University of Kentucky in the mid-1990s.

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