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Louisiana State basketball Coach Dale Brown answered questions for...

By JOAN I. DUFFY

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana State basketball Coach Dale Brown answered questions for 90 minutes Thursday from a federal grand jury about electronic bugging equipment FBI agents found in the office of Athletic Director Bob Brodhead.

'It's good to have this in America, where you can speak your piece,' Brown said after emerging from the grand jury. 'I had a chance to say what I want to say about this infamous situation.'

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Brown was four hours late for the grand jury session. While refusing to discuss his testimony, he vehemently denied the bugging incident was connected to the ill-fated attempt to recruit Alfredo 'Tito' Horford.

The 7-foot-1 center who came to LSU amid intense controversy spent two months on the campus before he disappeared several weeks ago.

Earlier this week, news reports indicated Brodhead installed the bugs to tape NCAA investigators already probing LSU athletics, and to protect the school against any NCAA problems that might arise from Horford's recruitment.

'Those are two different things,' Brown said. 'I don't care to comment.'

The NCAA has been investigating the LSU football and basketball programs for more than two years.

The outspoken coach denounced the federal investigation of bugging and taping devices Brodhead had installed in his office.

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'In America today we are more concerned about speeding and parking than rape and murder, it's ludicrous,' Brown said.

Horford arrived on the LSU campus in August in the midst of a University of Houston attempt to overturn an NCAA ruling that made him ineligible to play at the Texas school.

Brown enlisted the aid of attorney Nathan Fisher who had Horford give a sworn deposition about his recruitment at LSU before the university would offer the Dominican center a basketball scholarship.

Fisher also appeared before the grand jury for more than an hour. He refused to comment on whether he was representing Brown.

A source close to the investigation said Fisher was representing LSU basketball players in the NCAA probe.

Also appearing before the grand jury was LSU Assistant Athletic Director Joe Yates, who testified for 45 minutes and left without commenting on what he said.

Yates said, however, the university was cooperating in every way it could with the NCAA investigation.

Brown, a severe critic of NCAA recruiting rules, said media attention to the bugging incident 'looney tunes.'

'I have been a critic of this hypocrisy,' Brown said. 'The (NCAA investigation) doesn't have anything to do with this particular thing.'

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Shelby McKenzie, representing LSU Board of Supervisors, went before the grand jury during the afternoon session.

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