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USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: FACTORS HELP OUT SANCHEZ.

Byline: SCOTT WOLF Staff Writer

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez did not speak to police the night he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, a factor that could help his case, according to a criminal defense attorney.

``You don't want to give the police anything they can work with,'' said Robert Ernenwein, a defense attorney who is also a legal analyst for Fox News. ``This is not church or the boy scouts.''

Ernenwein, a part of former USC cornerback Eric Wright's defense team when he was arrested for sexual assault last year, said it is rare for someone Sanchez's age (19) to realize they shouldn't speak to police.

``It's an exception to the rule. Most clients his age usually speak,'' Ernenwein said.

Sanchez's case already was bolstered by the fact witnesses in the apartment have not said they believe he assaulted the alleged victim.

``I was in the area,'' said a student who did not wish to be identified. ``I've heard both versions. Of course, I don't believe Mark did it.''

NCAA decides: Although the Pacific-10 Conference is investigating the living arrangement quarterback Matt Leinart and Dwayne Jarrett enjoyed at an upscale Los Angeles apartment complex, the NCAA will probably make the final decision on the matter.

According to Pac-10 investigator Ron Barker, USC is awaiting for a ruling from the NCAA. Leinart and Jarrett each paid $650 a month while Leinart's father paid the remaining $2,600.

The issue is whether it was legal for Leinart's father to pay a portion of Jarrett's rent.

scott.wolf@dailynews.com

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 12, 2006
Words:261
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