“One to two years?????” Is that so “Sick Ookie” can get out in time to kill a few more dogs, maybe beat up a few kids and rape a couple of women before he gets too old to be a real “sport?” Despicable! If he only gets a handful of years in prison and then is allowed to play again, we as dog people have to plan more protests and boycotts.
Thanks to Bloomberg.com for this article.
Falcons Quarterback Vick to Plead Guilty to Dog-Fighting Charge
By Larry DiTore and Aaron Kuriloff
Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) — Michael Vick will plead guilty to conspiring to run a dog-fighting operation, which may land the Atlanta Falcons quarterback in prison and jeopardize his career in the National Football League.
The 27-year-old former No. 1 draft pick will enter his plea Aug. 27 in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, his lawyers said yesterday. The conspiracy charge carries a punishment of as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made,” Billy Martin, one of Vick’s attorneys, said in a statement. “Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter.”
Martin said yesterday the quarterback spent the weekend consulting with family before making his decision, which followed guilty pleas by three codefendants.
Asked if prosecutors and Vick reached a plea agreement, Jim Rybicki, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia, declined to comment. An unidentified government official told the Associated Press that prosecutors will recommend a sentence of a year to 18 months.
The NFL said in a statement that it’s aware of Vick’s decision and “we totally condemn the conduct outlined in the charges, which is inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons.”
The league will conclude its own investigation of the case “as soon as possible” before deciding on discipline for Vick, the statement said. Commissioner Roger Goodell last month said the quarterback shouldn’t report to the Falcons’ training camp. The NFL season begins Sept. 6.
NFL and Falcons
The league has also asked that the Falcons “refrain from taking action pending a decision by the commissioner.”
The Falcons said in a statement that the team was “certainly troubled” by the news of Vick’s plea and would have no comment until its terms become available on Aug. 27.
David Cornwell, former assistant general counsel for the NFL, said a guilty plea doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Vick’s NFL career. Goodell will probably impose a suspension that leaves Vick sitting out a year after his legal penalties end, he said.
“He has to prove he’s worthy of a second chance,” Cornwell said.
Vick, the top pick in the 2001 NFL draft, and three other men were indicted July 17 on charges of conspiring to run a dog- fighting operation at Vick’s Virginia home.
Vick supplied almost all of the money used to run the operation and gamble on the fights, according to a statement of facts filed the day defendant Tony Taylor’s plea agreement was announced.
According to the indictment, people betting on the fights established purses as high as $26,000, while dog owners and spectators made side bets. The fights lasted until a dog was killed or it surrendered. Losing dogs, along with those deemed unsuitable for fighting, were sometimes killed by drowning, hanging, beating, shooting or electrocution, the indictment said.
“While we are pleased to hear that the Vick case is being settled through the criminal justice system, we remain concerned that the punishment will be inadequate considering the heinous nature of the crimes,” Ron Menaker, chairman of the board at the American Kennel Club, said in a statement.
Vick and the three other men entered not-guilty pleas at their arraignment on July 26.
First Guilty Plea
Four days later, the 34-year-old Taylor, of Hampton, Virginia, changed his plea to guilty to one count of conspiring to traffic in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and sponsoring a dog in an animal-fighting venture.
Taylor was joined by defendants Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, on Aug. 17 in pleading guilty to the charges.
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said Vick’s plea was not surprising, given the pleas of his codefendants and the threat of a new indictment containing more charges. Tobias said Vick would probably spend less than the maximum amount of time in prison.
“I’ve heard anything from a year to two years,” he said in a telephone interview. “Of course, the judge is not bound by that, but they usually follow the recommendation of the U.S. attorney.”
Vick might face a lengthy suspension from the NFL based on recent disciplinary actions from Goodell, who revised the league’s personal-conduct policy this year.