Vick offered plea deal recommending at least a year in prison
By DAVE FORSTER , The Virginian-Pilot
August 15, 2007
Federal prosecutors have offered Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick a plea deal that would recommend he serve at least one year in prison on a felony dogfighting conspiracy charge, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
Vick has until 9 a.m. Friday to accept the offer or he could face additional charges when a grand jury convenes next week in U.S. District Court in Richmond, one of the sources said. At least two of Vick’s attorneys have been discussing the offer with prosecutors since early this week, the source said.
Two co-defendants are scheduled to appear in court Friday morning, where they are expected to accept deals and enter guilty pleas. Quanis L. Phillips, a friend of Vick’s since middle school and a high school football teammate of his in Newport News, has a plea agreement hearing set for 9 a.m. Friday. That is to be followed by a plea agreement hearing for a second co-defendant, Purnell A. Peace.
The third co-defendant in the case, Tony Taylor, pleaded guilty and accepted a deal last month. His sentencing is set for Dec. 14.
Taylor signed an agreement in which he promised to cooperate fully with prosecutors. A similar requirement would be expected of Vick if he accepts a deal, one of the sources said.
“He’s got to tell us everything,” the source said.
Both sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the case.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office would not comment.
Two of Vick’s attorneys, Lawrence Woodward Jr. and Billy Martin, did not return calls for comment. A third Vick attorney, Daniel Meachum, said he had no comment when reached early Wednesday evening.
Vick and the other men are charged with conspiring to create a dogfighting operation known as “Bad Newz Kennels” in 2001 on property that Vick bought in Surry County. The men raised pit bulls and sponsored fights against dog owners from other states, sometimes traveling outside Virginia for matches, according to the federal indictment.
The men gambled on the fights, sometimes betting $10,000 or more on a match, and executed dogs that lost or performed badly, the indictment said.
Vick, who is from Newport News and played at Virginia Tech, said after he was first charged in the dogfighting case that he is innocent of the allegations and that he intended to clear his name of any wrongdoing. The federal charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.