Monday, August 20, 2007

GAME OVER?

Michael Vick agreed Monday to plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, a deal that leaves the Atlanta Falcons quarterback facing up to 18 months in prison and puts his NFL career in jeopardy.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Vick be sentenced to between a year and 18 months in prison, according to a government official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms have not yet been made final.

That would be a higher penalty than is usually recommended for first-time convicts, and reflects an attempt by the government to show that animal abusers will receive more than a slap on the wrist for their crimes, the official said.

The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson will have the final say on how much time Vick will ultimately spend in jail

Vick's plea hearing is Aug. 27.
Defense attorney Billy Martin said Vick reached an agreement with federal prosecutors after consulting with his family during the weekend.

"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," Martin said in a statement. "Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

The NFL noted in a statement that Vick's admission wasn't in line with what he told commissioner Roger Goodell shortly after he was initially charged.

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