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Former player may avoid point-shaving trial

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former Auburn University basketball player Varez Ward may not be tried on point-shaving charges.

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His attorneys have sought to get him in a pre-trial diversion program, and the U.S. attorney's office in Montgomery is recommending it.

Federal prosecutor Clark Morris says the recommendation still must be approved by the U.S. Probation Office and a federal judge. She says pre-trial diversion usually involves a fine and community service under the supervision of a probation officer. The charges are dismissed, but the defendant can be charged again if he doesn't complete the program.

Ward's attorney, Robert Beeman, says he's optimistic Ward will avoid a trial scheduled for Nov. 4.

Ward was arrested in June on charges accusing him of conspiring to fix a game against Arkansas. He has pleaded not guilty.

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