NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is expected to plead guilty in a felony gun possession case in exchange for a no-jail sentence, prosecutors said Monday.
Felton was in court as the Manhattan district attorney’s office outlined the agreement, which would resolve a gun case that arose amid the breakup of his marriage. He’s expected to admit June 30 to at least one charge, attempted criminal possession of a weapon — he won’t have to come to court to do so — and get a $5,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.
“I want to thank the DA for being fair to me in this whole situation,” Felton said outside court, also thanking his family, friends and fans “for supporting me and understanding who, the person, I am.”
His lawyer, Jim Walden, said the plea would allow Felton to “continue his career without interruption.”
The DA’s office had no immediate comment on the agreement.
The NBA veteran was arrested in February, turning himself in shortly after a Dallas Mavericks-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. Authorities said his estranged wife’s lawyer had brought a loaded semi-automatic handgun to a police precinct, saying it was Felton’s and she wanted it out of their house. His wife, law student Ariane Raymondo-Felton, had filed for divorce the week before.
Her lawyer didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about Felton’s planned plea.
Felton was charged with offenses including a weapon-possession offense that carries the potential for up to seven years in prison; it outlaws large-capacity ammunition magazines, under some circumstances. The gun in Felton’s case had a magazine that could hold about 20 rounds, prosecutors said.
His lawyer said Felton never used the gun to threaten anyone.
The NBA has said it’s monitoring the case. The league usually waits until criminal cases against players are resolved before deciding whether to impose any fine or suspension.
The former University of North Carolina star, who turns 30 on Thursday, was the fifth pick of the 2005 NBA draft. After five seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, he had stints with the Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers before returning to the Knicks for the 2012-13 season.
Felton averaged a career-low 9.7 points last season as the Knicks went 37-45 and missed the playoffs. The point guard missed 17 games while battling injuries, and team president Phil Jackson recently denied a report that he had told Felton he planned to try to trade him this summer. Felton is set to earn $3.8 million next season and has a player option that would pay him $4 million in 2015-16.
“We obviously, we’re behind Raymond, and we feel bad for the situation, but we don’t know the circumstances behind it, so we just kind of have to just wait to see what happens from this point, but you know, he’s family and we’re here to support him,” Knicks alumni relations director John Starks said in February.
Felton is among a few pro athletes who have gotten into trouble with New York’s strict gun laws. Then-New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested in 2008 after accidentally shooting himself in a Manhattan nightclub. He pleaded guilty to an attempted weapon-possession charge and served about two years in prison.
Fighter Robert Guerrero was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport last year after he presented a locked gun box containing an unloaded handgun during check-in. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete 50 hours of community service.
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