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Vick co-defendants plead guilty in dogfighting case *Merge*

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Doomsday101, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- Two of NFL star Michael Vick's co-defendants pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges Friday as Vick was faced with accepting a plea deal or possibly facing harsher charges.

    Vick was given until 9 a.m. ET Friday to accept a plea deal that would require him to spend at least one year in prison on federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, reports say, but there was no immediate word on what the Atlanta Falcons quarterback decided.

    Vick's acceptance of the recommendation, described by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia, must receive court approval.
    If the 27-year-old Vick rejects the deal, he will face an additional charge under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, a source with knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper.

    According to the source, who requested anonymity, conviction under that charge would be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The new charge would be considered by a grand jury that convenes Monday.
    Federal judges rely largely on congressional guidelines for sentencing.
    Separately, the National Football League was trying to determine Vick's professional fate. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has barred Vick from playing with the Falcons until the investigation is finished. The league could suspend him for up to a year.



    Vick, of Newport News, Virginia, signed a 10-year, $130 million contract with the team in 2004. He was a standout at Virginia Tech and was the first player chosen in the 2001 NFL draft.

    A federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, charged Vick and three co-defendants in mid-July with organizing fights between pit bulls on property Vick bought in 2001, and transporting and delivering dogs across state lines. Both are conspiracy counts.

    Prosecutors said the maximum punishment for conviction on both counts is six years in prison and fines of up to $350,000.

    Another defendant admitted guilt and took a plea earlier.
    Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Virginia on Friday.

    Sentencing was set for November 30, CNN affiliate WSB-TV reported.
    Phillips was taken directly to jail after appearing in court Friday, according to WSB, because he tested positive for drug use while out on bail.
    Vick, once one of pro football's highest-profile and highest-paid players, pleaded not guilty July 26. He was released without bond, but U.S. Magistrate Dennis Dohnal ordered him to surrender his passport and dog-breeding license; not travel outside the district of his primary residence without approval; and not buy or sell any dogs.

    The third co-defendant, Tony Taylor, 34, accepted a plea deal July 30, the same day all four men pleaded not guilty to the allegations. He agreed to cooperate fully with prosecutors. Taylor will be sentenced December 14 and could receive up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

    According to the indictment filed with the court July 17, Taylor said he and the other three men decided to start a dogfighting venture in early 2001, and Vick paid for the property in Smithfield, Virginia, used for the operations.

    The four launched the business, Bad Newz Kennels, in early 2002, Taylor said. The indictment says dogs that didn't show enough fighting spirit or lost matches were put to death by a variety of methods, including shooting, drowning, hanging and electrocution.

    Prosecutors allege that on one occasion earlier this year, Vick participated in killing eight dogs.

    Athletic shoe giant Nike has suspended Vick's contract and -- for now -- will not sell any more products bearing his name at Nike retail stores. Various other companies also have stepped away from Vick-related merchandise. E-mail to a friend
  2. 03EBZ06

    03EBZ06 Need2Speed

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    Fight the establishment Ookie, fight it. :laugh2:
  3. 03EBZ06

    03EBZ06 Need2Speed

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    Here is the plead agreement.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0817071vick1.html

    Cohorts Say Vick's A Dog Killer

    Athlete's remaining codefendants cut plea deals in dogfighting case

    [IMG] AUGUST 17--Ratcheting up the pressure on Michael Vick, two of the NFL star's cohorts today pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges, leaving the athlete alone--at least for the time being--to face trial.

    During an appearance this morning in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace each copped to a felony conspiracy rap and signed plea agreements pledging to cooperate with federal investigators. In nearly identical fact summaries, both Phillips and Peace stated that the dogfighting ring's "operation and gambling monies were almost exclusively funded by Vick."

    Additionally, both men fingered Vick in the execution earlier this year of about eight dogs that performed poorly in test fighting sessions. Phillips and Peace each told investigators that Vick participated in killing the dogs, which were hung or drowned, and that the animals "died as a result of the collective efforts" of the trio. A copy of the Phillips fact summary can be found below.

    Last month, Tony Taylor was the first Vick crony to cut a deal and agree to testify against the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. With today's guilty pleas, all three of Vick's codefendants have admitted involvement in the operation of Bad Newz Kennels, which the trio has described as a brutal pit bull fighting operation that was headquartered at a Smithfield, Virginia property owned by Vick. (12 pages)
  4. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Did not see this posted as yet. Testimony is graphic here.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8018dd60&template=with-video&confirm=true

    Posted: 16 minutes ago
    Plea deals leave Vick as last dogfighting defendant
    Associated Press


    RICHMOND, Va. -- Two of Michael Vick's alleged cohorts in a grisly dogfighting case pleaded guilty Friday, and one said the Atlanta Falcons quarterback joined them in drowning and hanging dogs that underperformed.


    Related news:

    Plea deals leave Vick standing alone | Video
    Goodell: NFL will 'rely on facts' | Video
    Vick, attorneys confer | Video
    Video: Complete Vick coverage
    Michael Vick: Profile, stats | Falcons team page

    With his NFL career in jeopardy and a superseding indictment in the works to add more charges, Vick and his lawyers have been talking with federal prosecutors about a possible plea agreement.

    Now that all three co-defendants have entered plea bargains, Vick is on his own to cut a deal or face trial on federal charges.

    The court docket did not list any appearance for Vick. One of his lawyers, Lawrence Woodward, attended Friday's hearings and declined to answer questions as he left the courthouse.

    Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta entered plea agreements and joined defendant Tony Taylor of Hampton, who struck a similar deal last month. The agreements require the three to cooperate in the government's case against Vick.

    Sentencing is scheduled for Peace and Phillips on Nov. 30 and Taylor on Dec. 14. Vick has been barred from training camp by the NFL and is to go on trial Nov. 26.

    A statement signed by Phillips as part of his plea agreement said Vick participated in the execution of about eight dogs, some by drowning and hanging.

    "Phillips agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of Peace, Phillips and Vick," the statement said.

    Phillips and Peace also backed Taylor's assertion that Vick was involved in gambling.

    Michael Vick timeline

    April 25: Local authorities raid a property Vick owned in Surry County, Va., reportedly finding 66 dogs (mostly pit bulls), a dogfighting pit, bloodstained carpets and equipment associated with dogfighting.

    May 29: Authorities obtain search warrant to look for as many as 30 dog carcasses that sources claimed were buried in various locations on the property. The warrant was never executed by Surry County officials.

    June 7: Department of Agriculture executes search warrant at property, with the help of state police investigators, finding remains of seven dogs.

    July 6: Federal investigators conduct second search at Vick property. Federal authorities file court documents in Richmond, obtained by The Associated Press, detailing aspects of the case for the first time. Vick was not named in those documents.

    July 17: Vick indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to illegal dogfighting.

    July 26: On the same day the Falcons begin training camp, Vick pleads not guilty to all charges at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. Vick is released and a trial date is set for Nov. 26.

    July 27: Nike suspends Vick’s endorsement deal without pay, Reebok stops sales of Vick’s No. 7 Falcons jersey and the trading-card company Donruss announces decision to pull Vick’s card from any future 2007 releases.



    July 30: Tony Taylor, one of Vick’s three co-defendants, pleads guilty and says he will cooperate fully with federal authorities.



    Aug. 13: Two of Vick’s co-defendants, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace, who had originally pleaded guilty, arrange to appear in court later in the week for new plea hearings.



    Aug. 17: Phillips and Peace plead guilty to dogfighting charges, saying Vick helped execute poorly performing dogs in training sessions earlier this year.
    "The 'Bad Newz Kennels' operation and gambling monies were almost exclusively funded by Vick," statements by the two men say.

    Peace and Phillips were charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

    "Did you conspire with these folks to sponsor a dogfighting venture?" U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson asked Peace.

    He replied, "Yes, sir."

    The offenses are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but the exact sentence will be based largely on federal sentencing guidelines. Hudson told Peace and Phillips that certain elements of their offenses will increase their sentencing ranges.

    "There are aggravating circumstances in this case, there's no doubt about it," he told Phillips.

    While Peace was freed, Hudson found that Phillips violated terms of his release by failing a drug test and ordered him jailed. Phillips also is on probation for a drug conviction in Atlanta, and the guilty plea could mean more jail time in that case, Hudson said.

    Any outcome that ties Vick to betting on the dogfights could trigger a lifetime ban from the NFL under the league's personal conduct policy.

    The 27-year-old quarterback was linked to betting by a statement signed by Taylor, who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government, and the July 17 indictment.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell withheld further action while the NFL conducts its own investigation. Goodell said Thursday the league hasn't been monitoring Vick's plea negotiations.

    The four defendants all initially pleaded not guilty, and Vick issued a statement saying he looked forward to clearing his name.

    A statement of facts signed by Taylor as part of his plea agreement placed Vick at the scene of several dogfights and linked him to betting. Taylor said Vick financed virtually all the "Bad Newz Kennels" operation on Vick's property in Surry County.

    The case began with a search in April that turned up dozens of pit bulls and an assortment of dogfighting paraphernalia at the property, a few miles from Vick's hometown of Newport News.

    According to the indictment, dogs that lost fights or fared poorly in test fights were sometimes executed by hanging, electrocution or other means.

    Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
  5. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    I don't know why I have never thought of this, but I just did.

    Why is this a federal and not state case?
  6. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    I wonder if Deion Sanders thinks Vick is still a good guy who stays home all the time and plays playstation? You know, like he said two weeks before the federal indictment came down.

    Sanders said he knew for a fact that vick had nothing to do with this and that he has been to vicks home many times and that vick probably didnt even know who was living in this other home....

    I need to find that audio from the ticket when sanders was on the first week of july.

    How can anyone listen or beleive anything sanders says after hearing that.

    Vick should be banned from the nfl forever. Even though it is pretty much a given no team will take a chance on him, they should still ban him officially.
  7. TX_Yid

    TX_Yid Well-Known Member

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    IF he pleads, thats his career over right? No NFL team is going to have him as the face of their organization?
  8. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Fighting took place across state lines. So did the gambling, evidently. Also, dog fighting falls under a federal agency. That's pretty much why I think.
  9. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Yes it happened across state lines and the gambling.

    Transporting the dogs across states lines to fight also comes into play.
  10. stealth

    stealth Benched

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    how far do snitches get in prison?

    I always thought that was frowned upon in the criminal world...
  11. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    There is an article that Goodell comments on, specific to how the NFL will handle this, as opposed to how it will be treated legally. Here is an exerpt from it.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80188da9&template=with-video&confirm=true

    Associated Press


    ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the league has not changed its stance on Michael Vick, despite reports the Atlanta Falcons star has been meeting with his attorneys and is considering making a plea deal with prosecutors in his federal dogfighting conspiracy case.


    Related news:

    Plea deals leave Vick standing alone | Video
    Goodell: NFL will 'rely on facts' | Video
    Vick, attorneys confer | Video
    Video: Complete Vick coverage
    Michael Vick: Profile, stats | Falcons team page

    "We're going to do what we always said we were going to do, which is rely on the facts," Goodell said. "If there is some type of a plea agreement, then we will obviously take the time to understand what that plea is and we'll see how it fits into our personal conduct (policy)."


    This would suggest to me that Goodell might already know what he's going to do here. Gambling is the big thing in regards to the NFL and Vick's future in it. If he pleeds guilty, then I'd imagine he's also pleeding guilty to gambling as is testified to by all three co-defendants. That might be the peg Goodell rest's his hat on. Regardless of what happens in court or how much time Vick gets, he might be gone in terms of any chance to play in the NFL.
  12. fortdick

    fortdick Well-Known Member

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    Poindexter!

    Anyhow, I thought he had until 9 am this morning to make a deal or face the RICO charges. The time has expired. Maybe they are in sudden death?
  13. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    It was reported as such but evidently, he actually has Friday to get it done. I'd imagine that anything would be considered right up till Monday morning when the Feds start moving forward.
  14. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Since it seems that his lawyers and the Fed Attorney are discussing the plea deal I am sure they would delay the timing requirements a bit.:cool:
  15. fortdick

    fortdick Well-Known Member

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    I am kinda hoping he goes to trial. I want to see him nailed.
  16. tduhain

    tduhain New Member

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    When the feds come after you - your cooked. They are extra careful in high profile cases. The charges are rock solid with more to come.

    But after he's finished with prison, plenty of NFL teams will be quietly waiting to pounce. He'll issue the all-American apology/excuse (gosh,I made a poor decision) and everybody will gush about how he's paid his debt to society and we need to move on. At around age 30 he'll be in the league as a back up or even a starter again. Ron Mexico - dog killer.
  17. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I would not be so sure about this. If the Gambling is proven, he could be done in the NFL for life. That's a zero tolerance kinda thing.
  18. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    That depends. If he does a year then yeah maybe he returns if he has to do 2 to 3 years I don't think he will ever play in the NFL again. Face it his talent as a QB have been a major question mark over the last couple of season.
  19. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    The thing that will be interesting to me is how this works once the state gets hold of him. If he cuts a deal and admits guilt, then that give the state all kinds of leverage. I would think that it would be next to impossible to beat the state rap in that situation. How would a sentance work on that, I wonder? Even if he were to get a year off the federal charges, that doesn't mean he wouldn't be facing much more time from the State. One of the legal guys needs to step in and help us out here.
  20. 03EBZ06

    03EBZ06 Need2Speed

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    Virginia to pursue Vick charges
    Poindexter to send case to grand jury in September

    By STEVE WYCHE
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 08/17/07

    Michael Vick's problems didn't end with his former friends and co-defendants pleading guilty and alleging that he funded a dogfighting ring and helped them execute dogs that failed to show the gameness to fight.

    Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday afternoon that "yes, indeed, we will prosecute" Vick and others on possible animal cruelty and dogfighting charges. Poindexter said he would probably submit his case to a grand jury that is scheduled to convene Sept. 25.

    He has not determined which charges he would file but said he would aggressively prosecute based on previously acquired evidence and some of the evidence presented in the federal case. Dogfighting and animal cruelty are felonies in Virginia with animal cruelty charges holding penalties of up to five years in jail for each animal killed.

    "The execution of these animals — and the manner in which they were executed — is startlingly offensive and demanding of prosecution," Poindexter said.

    Statements made in the guilty pleas reached by Phillips and Peace that they accompanied Vick in the execution of eight dogs this April and fought dogs on Vick's Surry County, Va., property solidified Poindexter's decision to move forward with prosecution.

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