Art Schlichter pleads not guilty

Updated: May 5, 2011, 12:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Art Schlichter should not be tried in Columbus, his attorney said after Schlichter pleaded not guilty to theft charges.

Schlichter, 51, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges in a 13-count indictment. He is accused of bilking people in what authorities have described as a million-dollar ticket-selling scheme.

Schlichter's new defense attorney, Sam Weiner, said outside court that publicity over the case has "poisoned the well" for any trial in Columbus. He quipped that Schlichter could probably get a fairer trial in Ann Arbor, Mich., than in Columbus.

Schlichter was indicted Friday after prosecutors and his previous defense attorney, Sam Shamansky, were unable to reach a plea agreement, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Shamansky said plea negotiations broke down over Schlichter's request that his bail be lowered so he could be released for gambling addiction treatment and to spend time with his family before being sentenced, according to the report. Schlichter is currently being held on $1 million bail.

Schlichter is facing 12 counts of theft and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He is accused of bilking at least $680,000 from Anita Barney, the 69-year-old widow of former Wendy's president and chairman Robert Barney, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Schlichter's football-playing career was done in by a gambling addiction, and he went to prison for gambling-related crimes. He played for the Buckeyes from 1978 to 1981.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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