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Husker Wali Muhammad. (LJS file)

More than a dozen former and current Nebraska football players are on the prosecution's witness list in the steroid trafficking case against Levi Lewis, according to court documents.

But it's unclear what that means.

Prosecutors declined Tuesday to discuss the witness list.

And Brian Nunns, a former Nebraska offensive lineman whose name is on the list, said he didn't know anything about serving as a potential witness against Lewis.

"I have no idea," said Nunns, who owns and operates The Edge, a Lincoln health club. "All I know is what I've read in the paper."

Nunns said the three men arrested in June for alleged involvement in a steroid ring — Lewis, Chad Case and Kenneth Thompson, all of Lincoln — had been "in and out" of his gym.

Nobody should draw conclusions from a witness list, said Lincoln lawyer John Stevens Berry Sr., who is not connected to the case.

Names on witness lists are usually taken from police reports and are included "even if they know nothing or have nothing to do with the case," he said.

The lists "come out of an abundance of caution," Berry said, because prosecutors want to cast the widest possible net.

The 132-person list in Lewis' case includes people allegedly involved in the steroid ring, including Vladimir Ribartchouk, who is accused of sending the steroids from New York. He was booked into Lancaster County Jail on Tuesday.

The list also includes doctors, managers at banks and cell phone companies, Nebraska State Patrol troopers and a U.S. postal inspector.

The current NU football players named are Grant Miller and Wali Muhammad.

The former players are Sandro DeAngelis, Benard Thomas, Brian Nunns, Nick Povendo, Richie Incognito, Josh Brown, Alex Shada, Ross Pilkington, Ryon Bingham, Tim Green and Jack O'Holleran.

Only Nunns was available for comment Tuesday night.

At Lewis' July preliminary hearing, State Patrol Investigator Matt Brodecky testified Lewis tried to sell steroids to Shada, who declined to buy them.

Brodecky has also testified Sandro DeAngelis, who shared a dorm with Lewis in 2001 and 2002, knew Lewis had steroids.

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Lewis, 24, is charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance on or between July 21, 2003, and Nov. 18, 2004, possession of a controlled substance and possession of illicit drug money. His arraignment in Lancaster County District Court is today.

Thompson, 23, waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday. His arraignment is Aug. 24.

Thompson and Case, 30, who were arrested in June at the same time as Lewis, are both on the witness list.

Lewis and Thompson distributed steroids — sent in packages from New York — to friends and people they met at gyms and bars, Brodecky testified.

Some of the people they sold to not only used the drugs but also sold them to others, Brodecky said.

Case, for example, bought steroids from Rick Fitzgerald, who bought from Lewis, Brodecky has testified. A Richard Fitzgerald is listed on the witness list.

So is Matthew Ochsner, a Waverly man who bought steroids from Thompson and later — in cooperation with investigators — wore a wire during a conversation with him, Brodecky said in court.

Ochsner told the Journal Star last month that Husker football players "definitely" bought and used steroids from the ring.

Reach Josh Swartzlander at 473-7120 or Reporter Brian Rosenthal contributed to this story.


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