Taylor due in court to answer charge

Updated: July 12, 2010, 4:46 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Lawrence Taylor will appear in a Rockland County courtroom Tuesday morning, for the first time since he was arrested on May 6 for charges including statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl.

Although Taylor has not publicly addressed the charges, his attorney, Arthur Aidala, said that he would fight them after Taylor was indicted by a grand jury on June 23. Aidala said the indictment was little more than a formality and that Taylor would plead innocent.

"I am saying that he did not have sexual intercourse, as it's defined in the penal law, with this person," Aidala said.

Taylor must formally answer the charges at Tuesday's hearing, putting in motion a process that could yield a criminal trial early next year.

Aidala is accustomed to representing clients during moments that look particularly dark. And the Fox News legal analyst is familiar with the spotlight that goes along with it.

Just two weeks ago, reporters met Aidala at a downtown Manhattan courthouse to discuss Taylor's case during the trial of another man. Aidala has vigorously defended William Rapetti, who is accused of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in a crane accident that killed seven people. Reports from the courtroom describe Rapetti as despondent, looking down with his head in his hands as he listens to the arguments.

The Brooklyn-based attorney allows for no ambiguity when he addresses media about either client. He says they are innocent.

For Taylor, the stakes are high. He has already lost endorsements because of the charges and could face four years in prison if found guilty. Taylor was arrested at a Holiday Inn in Suffern, N.Y., after a night when a 16-year-old runaway was allegedly sent to his hotel room. According to the police, Taylor had arranged for a prostitute and paid the girl $300.

After the encounter, the girl secretly texted a concerned uncle, who met her when she returned to New York City. He arranged to have police officers there as well. The man accused of being the pimp in the case, Rasheed Davis, was charged with unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Police say the girl was able to lead them back to Taylor's room, and he was arrested.

At the bail hearing, Aidala said that Taylor had never seen the girl, but he has since backed away from that claim. He has not elaborated on what kind of contact may have taken place, and said that he wouldn't lay out his defense before a trial.

Aidala did say that it wouldn't be a he-said-she-said defense, that others would be able to vouch for Taylor's version of events when that is laid out.

Taylor has to appear in person to answer the charges, and there is just one way in and out of the county building. Court officers are already readying for a crush of media as the troubled linebacker prepares for the first of what could be many days in court.

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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