View Full Version : Vick co-defendants to plead guilty

08-13-2007, 11:49 PM
Vick co-defendants to plead guilty

Star News Services

RICHMOND, Va. | By Friday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick could be the last man standing.

Vick’s remaining two co-defendants, Purnell A. Peace and Quanis Phillips, have set court dates for later this week to change their pleas to guilty in federal conspiracy charges related to dogfighting.

The hearings come about two weeks after another one of Vick’s co-defendants, Tony Taylor, entered a guilty plea before the same judge, and pointed to Vick as the person who bankrolled the operation.

If the judge accepts pleas from Peace and Phillips, Vick will be the only defendant left facing trial in the case. Last month all four pleaded not guilty.

“It surprises Michael Vick’s legal defense team,” said Collins Spencer III, a spokesman for Vick’s defense team. “Is it going to be a problem for them to move forward with their defense? No.”

Meanwhile a report from Yahoo Sports indicated that the NFL already has decided to make Vick’s indefinite suspension permanent, citing other issues besides the dogfighting. The league denies any decision on Vick’s suspension has been made.

But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told USA Today that the high-stakes gambling associated with dogfighting concerns the NFL as much as the dogfighting charges themselves.

The NFL has a strict policy against gambling that includes a potential lifetime ban for associating with gambling in a manner that discredits the league.

“Listen, we’re sickened by the allegations and the predicament Michael has put himself in, but there are a lot of things in the indictment that concern the NFL that may not be of a greater concern from a law-enforcement standpoint,” Goodell told the newspaper.

Other NFL news
•KIFFIN HOSPITALIZED: Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was taken to a hospital to get treatment for a viral invection. Kiffin, 32, had been sick for a few days and hadn’t gotten better.

•VETS WANT REPORT: Twenty military members who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to help second the release of all documents related to the death of Pat Tillman. President Bush has cited executive privilege to withhold some of the communications and documents the House has requested.

•POOR PACMAN: Suspended Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, in an interview scheduled to air on HBO’s “Real Sports” today, said he was an innocent bystander in the Las Vegas strip club before an altercation that led to a triple shooting. Police have cited him as the “inciter” of the fight. He also told Bryant Gumbell that he didn’t feel he “got a fair say” in his April hearing with Goodell.

•STILL IN GAME: Both Michael Vick and Pacman Jones are included in the “Madden 08” video football game because the rosters were set before the players were suspended. As the season progresses, EA Sports will provide downloadable updates in which both players might be removed from the rosters.

08-14-2007, 12:09 AM
Vick is done. IMO

08-14-2007, 12:18 AM
Vick is done. IMO

May never play another game!! I believe he will spend YEARS not months in jail!! DESERVES EVERY BIT!

08-14-2007, 12:27 AM
May never play another game!! I believe he will spend YEARS not months in jail!! DESERVES EVERY BIT!

You and I sir are in complete agreement. He should never step foot on another football field again.

08-14-2007, 01:16 AM
Vick must decide whether to accept plea agreement

ESPN.com news services

Updated: August 13, 2007, 8:38 PM ET

With two more co-defendants distancing themselves from Michael Vick, the embattled Falcons quarterback was considering on Monday whether to accept a plea agreement for his alleged role in a dogfighting operation.

Sources told ESPN's Kelly Naqi that Vick attorneys Larry Woodward and Billy Martin met with federal prosecutor Michael Gill and the investigators on Monday afternoon. The attorneys planned to speak with the quarterback in the evening to see what direction he wants to go in.

That comes on the heels of news that co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips are scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond at the end of the week and are expected to accept their own plea agreements. Peace's hearing is at 9 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, while Phillips will appear on Friday at the same time. Plea agreements would clear them to testify against Vick.

Collins R. Spencer III, a spokesman for Vick's defense team, said the lawyers were surprised by the plea deals.

"They didn't see it coming," Spencer said.

But he said it wouldn't affect the way he proceeds with the case.

In a Richmond, Va., court in late July, Vick 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. He said in a written statement that he looked forward to "clearing my good name." He also pleaded with the public to resist a rush to judgment.

Another of Vick's co-defendants, 34-year-old Tony Taylor, pleaded guilty to the same charges and has pledged to fully cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Vick and the two others. The plea deal requires Taylor to testify against Vick and his two remaining co-defendants if called upon to do so.

A source close to the investigation told Naqi that Vick has until Friday to make up his mind whether to accept a plea agreement. Otherwise a superseding indictment will be filed and Vick will face at least two more federal dogfighting charges.

Meanwhile, the NFL dismissed a report Sunday that said commissioner Roger Goodell was close to announcing a season-long suspension of Vick.

Citing two sources within the league, Yahoo.com reported late Sunday night that Goodell will announce "this week or next" that Vick will be suspended for the 2007 season.

"That's the direction it's going and has been from the time this started," one of the sources said this week, according to Yahoo. "The plan was to make sure it was announced before the season. Given what everybody has seen from what [league] security found and what the feds are telling us, there's really no choice."

Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general retained by the league, is still gathering facts on Vick's alleged involvement in dogfighting, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday.

"The commissioner has not made any decision," Aiello said.

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. The summary of facts signed by Taylor supports the indictment's claims that the dogfighting ring on Vick's property in Surry County, Va., executed underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other brutal means. Taylor admitted shooting one dog and electrocuting another when they did not perform well in test fights in the summer of 2002.

Vick has been barred from Falcons training camp by Goodell while the league conducts its investigation.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback on July 24.

Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said he has not spoken with his players about Vick's troubles since camp opened.

"I'm not ready to respond to anything regarding Michael because I know nothing new," Petrino said.

Falcons running back Warrick Dunn, Vick's teammate since 2002, said he recently spoke with the 27-year-old quarterback to offer support. Dunn added, however, that the players have no choice but to move ahead and prepare for the Sept. 9 season opener at Minnesota.

"I don't think anybody on this team right now is hoping that Mike comes back," Dunn said. "If he comes back, that's great, but I just think right now we're at point where the guys that are here are trying to get better and move on down the road. Mike is going to be missed and has been missed, but at the same time you have to go on."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

08-14-2007, 01:19 AM
A "plea agreement" probably means little if any jail time.

08-14-2007, 01:20 AM
It definitely looks like he could land in prison. It just shows how quickly everything can be taken away.

08-14-2007, 01:22 AM
It definitely looks like he could land in prison. It just shows how quickly everything can be taken away.

...And deservedly so.