Judge orders Vick's conditional release
RICHMOND, Va. -- He rose to hero status in his homestate during two dazzling seasons as the quarterback at Virginia Tech, a kid from the tough part of Newport News who was heading for the NFL. Michael Vick left as a soft-spoken star in the making.
The Vick who emerged before a throng on Thursday received anything but a hero's welcome. He was jeered and cursed by hundreds who have come to view him in recent weeks as the ruthless face of the brutal bloodsport of dogfighting.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback said "not guilty" in a firm voice when asked how he pleaded to a conspiracy charge by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Asked his preference for a trial, Vick responded "by jury." Hudson set a Nov. 26 date for Vick and his three co-defendants, all of whom also pleaded not guilty.
Vick was released without bond but with a series of conditions, including the surrender of his passport, a pledge not to travel outside the immediate area of his primary residence without court approval and not to sell or possess a dog.
Vick was also ordered to surrender any animal breeder or kennel licenses.
The government will file a superseded indictment in August. ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said that could mean new charges filed, or it could mean someone -- usually a person who has agreed to cooperate -- is being dropped from the indictment. That would mean a new arraignment.
Charged along with Vick are Purnell A. Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Quanis L. Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, Ga.; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Va. They all face up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000 if convicted on all charges.
The allegations detailed in a gruesome indictment have sparked protests by animal rights groups at the headquarters of the NFL and the Falcons. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell barred Vick from attending training camp while the league investigates.
Following the arraignment, Vick climbed into a white sport utility vehicle and rode away, leaving behind his lawyer, Billy Martin, to read a statement on his behalf -- his first public comments on the indictment.
"I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name," it said. "I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown."
Vick's mother, Brenda Boddie, stood by Martin's side as he spoke.
"I would like to say to my mom I'm sorry for what she has had to go through in this most trying of times," the statement said. He also apologized to his teammates for not being with them for the start of training camp.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the team wanted to suspend Vick for four games, the maximum penalty a team can assess a player, but the NFL asked him to wait. Instead, Blank has told the player to concentrate on his legal problems, not football.
"This is going to be a hard-fought trial," said Martin, one of five lawyers retained by Vick. "We are conducting our own investigation. We will look into these allegations and we look forward to the opportunity to being able to walk inside this courtroom saying to the world that Michael Vick is innocent."
The case began April 25 when investigators conducting a drug search at a massive home Vick built in rural Surry County found 66 dogs, including 55 pit bulls, and equipment typically used in dogfighting. They included a "rape stand" that holds aggressive dogs in place for mating and a "breakstick" used to pry open a dog's mouth.
The former Virginia Tech star contended he knew nothing about a dogfighting operation at the home, where one of his cousins lived, and said he rarely visited. He also blamed friends and family members for taking advantage of his generosity and pledged to be more scrupulous.
According to the 18-page indictment filed July 17, dogs not killed in the fighting pit were often shot, hanged, drowned or, in one case, slammed to the ground. The document says Vick was consulted before one losing dog was wet down and electrocuted.
It alleges that the dogfighting operation began in 2001, not long after Vick was the first overall selection in the NFL draft. His first contract was for $62 million. In 2004, he signed a 10-year, $130 million deal, then the richest in league history.
The indictment says the fights offered purses as high as $26,000 and that Vick once paid $23,000 to the owner of two pit bulls that had beaten Bad Newz Kennels dogs.
That owner is one of four cooperating witnesses cited in the document.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices