MIAMI -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor will not
accept a plea deal that could keep him out of prison in an assault
case because it would require him to admit to a felony, his
attorney said Tuesday.
"When a man is not guilty, that option is not attractive,"
said Richard Sharpstein, one of Taylor's three lawyers.
Unless a last-minute deal is reached, trial is scheduled to
begin in the case Monday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court.
The 23-year-old Taylor faces up to 46 years in prison if
convicted on three aggravated assault charges and one misdemeanor
battery charge stemming from a June 1 armed confrontation with a
group of people in a dispute over all-terrain vehicles that Taylor
owns. Taylor has pleaded not guilty and is free on $16,500 bail.
If Taylor is convicted, the felony assault charges carry a
mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years each. Prosecutors
talked with Taylor's lawyers about a plea deal involving a sentence
of probation, but insisted on a felony plea because a firearm was
Taylor's lawyers failed in a bid Tuesday to get the charges
dismissed. They argued prosecutors failed to disclose information
about the criminal histories of the alleged victims in the case
that might help Taylor's defense. But Circuit Judge Mary Barzee
rejected their dismissal motion.
Taylor, a former star at the University of Miami, signed a
seven-year, $18 million contract with the Redskins in 2004. He has
six interceptions and 120 tackles in his two NFL seasons, but also
has had more than his share of trouble.
Taylor has been fined seven times during his pro career for late
hits and other infractions, most recently a $17,000 penalty for
spitting in the face of Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman
during a playoff game in January. He also was fined $25,000 for
skipping a mandatory rookie symposium.