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Artest charged, could face up to four years in prison

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest
faces four misdemeanor charges stemming from a dispute with his
wife at home earlier this month.

The charges were filed late Tuesday. Placer County Deputy
District Attorney Dan Quick said Artest will be arraigned Thursday
on charges of battery and corporal injury to a spouse, false
imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. Each
carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

Artest was arrested March 5 at his estate in Loomis, 25 miles
northeast of Sacramento, and was released from custody after
posting a $50,000 bond.

A Placer County sheriff's report said Artest grabbed a woman and
pushed her down, then slapped her face during an argument. The
report, which did not identify the victim because it was a domestic
violence incident, said Artest took a phone from the woman the
first time she tried to call 911.

When she reached 911, the woman at first complained that Artest
was taking the family Hummer from the home, according to a
recording of the call released by the sheriff's department. The
woman then told a dispatcher that her finger was cut and her leg
scratched, and that she broke the windshield of the vehicle.

Five days after his arrest, Artest said he'd stumbled as a
father and husband and apologized to his wife and family, as well
as to the Kings and his teammates. He sat out two games, but was
not suspended and continued to receive his salary.

Artest's attorney, William Portanova, said Wednesday that he had
not yet seen the charges.

"Ron's first priority remains his family, and the process will
simply have to work itself through," he said.

Portanova declined to say whether Artest has had any contact
with his family since the incident.

"The family continues to request privacy during these difficult
times," he said.

Immediately after the arrest, the county sheriff's department
obtained an emergency protective order that prevented Artest from
returning to his home or contacting the woman until she could
obtain a restraining order. Officials with the Placer County
clerk's office and sheriff's department said Wednesday they had no
record that she had sought or obtained such an order.

Calls Wednesday to Artest's agent, Mark Stevens, were not
immediately returned. Kings spokesman Darrin May said he had no
immediate comment.

It was the latest in a string of incidents that have marred
Artest's basketball career.

As a member of the Indiana Pacers, he was the central figure in
the 2004 brawl with Detroit Pistons fans. He received a 73-game
suspension and lost almost $5 million in salary for jumping into
the stands and throwing punches. Artest and teammate Stephen
Jackson were sentenced to one year of probation and 60 hours of
community service after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault
charges.

Artest joined the Kings in January 2006.

Sheriff's deputies said they have responded to 911 calls from
Artest's home five other times since last August, and at least two
of the calls involved domestic disturbances.

Last month, county animal-control officers seized his Great
Dane, Socks, because it wasn't being fed. The dog has since been
released to the custody of one of Artest's lawyers.