Artest charged, could face up to four years in prison

Updated: March 21, 2007, 3:47 PM ET
Associated Press

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

Ron Artest Timeline
Ron Artest

Ron Artest brought baggage to Sacramento and he's created more since his January 2006 trade to the Kings. Here's a look at his laundry list of questionable behavior over the years. Timeline

• TrueHoop: Get help, Ron

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press