Report: Vick given Friday deadline for plea deal
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The two remaining co-defendants in Michael Vick’s federal dogfighting case on Monday scheduled hearings to enter plea agreements.
Will Vick be next to cut a deal?
Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, is set to appear in federal court in Richmond on Thursday and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, on Friday.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported early Tuesday that Vick’s lawyers have been given a Friday deadline to plead guilty or the U.S. attorney’s office will file additonal charges in a superseding indictment.
“We’re surprised about the plea-agreement hearings. This won’t affect the forward movement of the case,” said Collins R. Spencer III, who heads a PR firm working with Vick’s defense team
Also in the report, Spencer said the defense currently will not plead guilty to any charges. Vick has denied any involvement in dogfighting since the investigation began.
Last month, another original co-defendant, Tony Taylor, pleaded guilty to his role in a dogfighting conspiracy he says was financed almost entirely by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.
Taylor, 34, of Hampton, agreed to fully cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Vick, Peace and Phillips, who are accused of running an interstate dogfighting enterprise known as “Bad Newz Kennels” on Vick’s property in rural Surry County.
Attorneys for Peace and Phillips did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
Collins R. Spencer III, a spokesman for Vick’s defense team, said the lawyers were surprised by the plea deals. He said although they assumed the two agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, it would not affect the way Vick’s lawyers proceed.
“We’re moving forward with taking the case to trial on Nov. 26,” he said.
Vick has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.
Vick, 27, attended several dogfights in Virginia and other states with his partners, according to the statement. Prosecutors claim the fights offered purses as high as $26,000.
The gruesome details outlined in the July 17 indictment have fueled public protests against Vick and prompted the suspension of some of his lucrative endorsement deals. Also, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has barred Vick from the Falcons’ training camp.