Anti-intimidation effort recruits Anthony

Sun Staff

Representatives of NBA star Carmelo Anthony are negotiating with federaland state officials who want the Baltimore native to participate in amarketing campaign to combat the growing problem of witness intimidation.

"He definitely will be outreaching to the community. The complete detailsaren't formed yet," said Jane Yin, a spokeswoman with BDA Sports Management, aWalnut Creek, Calif.-based firm that represents the 20-year-old NationalBasketball Association player.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, said yesterday that he istrying to conclude talks with Anthony's agents about the Denver Nuggetsforward filming public service announcements that would be produced by theOffice of National Drug Control Policy.

Cummings is a member of the House Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and HumanResources Subcommittee, which oversees the office.

He said Anthony needs to reverse the impact of his brief appearance in aStop Snitching DVD that was filmed while he was visiting his former WestBaltimore neighborhood. Others in the film talk about retaliating againstwitnesses who cooperate with police and testify in court.

"A horrible message has been sent," said Cummings, who is urging Anthony toappear in two spots: one on police cooperation and a second with an anti-drugtheme.

"These conversations have not been negative," Cummings said. "What I havesaid is this is a way you can turn a negative into a huge positive."

Aides to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. also are trying to enlist Anthony. Thegovernor is proposing legislation to increase penalties for witnessintimidation and allow testimony in court from witnesses who cooperatedpreviously but did not or could not appear in person.

Anthony is one of several prominent spokespeople being sought to help winsupport, Ehrlich said yesterday.

"We're trying anything we can to get the message out, and to the extent wecan get somebody with credibility, we will," the governor said.

Alan Friedman, director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control andPrevention, said the NBA season has complicated the timing of Anthony'sparticipation.

"The problem right now is the scheduling," Friedman said.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, another proponent ofanti-intimidation legislation, said Anthony's stature would help focusattention on a pressing need.

"He is a megaphone we wouldn't have normally," Ivey said. "He is going tobe able to reach guys who have zero interest in listening to prosecutors."

Yin, the agents' spokeswoman, said Anthony's participation in commercialsor other events would not be precipitated by fallout from the DVD. "This issomething he had planned to do regardless," she said.

Anthony's interest in an anti-violence campaign was first reportedyesterday by The Washington Post, which quoted him as saying "I would neversupport anybody harming anyone. ... I just want to help."

Sun staff writers Ivan Penn and Andrew A. Green contributed to thisarticle.

Correction: An article yesterday incorrectly stated Alan R. Friedman's title. He is a policy adviser for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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