NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was indicted Thursday for the physical assault of a woman last month inside an Atlantic City casino, Acting Atlantic County, N.J., Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
The alleged incident involving Rice, 27, and his 26-year-old fiancée, Janay Palmer, happened just before 3 a.m. inside the Revel Casino on Feb. 15.
In a complaint, police allege Rice, who starred at New Rochelle (N.Y.) High School and Rutgers, knocked out Palmer during an argument, striking her with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.”
Initially, police charged both Rice and Palmer, who have a 2-year-old daughter together, with aggravated assault, but the charge against Palmer was later dismissed. If found guilty of third-degree aggravated assault, Rice could face 3-5 years in prison.
“On behalf of Ray Rice, we vehemently deny that Mr. Rice committed an aggravated assault,” attorney Michael Diamondstein told The Press of Atlantic City. “Both Mr. Rice and Miss Palmer are together, they are happy and they’re in counseling.”
“Ray Rice is not going to put blame on Janay Palmer,” Diamondstein told the Baltimore Sun. “The state chose only to prosecute Ray Rice, and we ask that the public reserve judgment until all the facts come out.”
TMZ Sports released a video of what it says shows Rice, who helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII a little more than a year ago, dragging a seemingly motionless woman out of a casino elevator.
Palmer’s attorney, Robert Gamburg, said not long after the alleged incident that he was certain neither person committed a crime. Diamondstein said at the time he hoped the case would be shown to be a misunderstanding.
Diamondstein told The Press of Atlantic City that the TMZ video “is obviously edited video.”
Rice is in the third year of a five-year, $35 million contract he signed with the Ravens prior to the 2012 season. Last season, he ran for 660 yards – his lowest total since his rookie year – and averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said despite the entire incident being “embarrassing and disappointing,” the organization is sticking by Rice.
“Ray will be here. This is a singular moment six years after we drafted him,” Bisciotti told the Sun from the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla. “It’s embarrassing for him and his fiancée. It is especially hard to see somebody that is proud of his reputation have to take this kind of public relations hit.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell added Wednesday that the NFL will monitor Rice’s case, but he had very little to say about the potential for Rice to face league discipline, the Daily News reported.
“We’ll let the facts dictate that,” Goodell said.
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