Plea agreement may not arrive until Monday
ATLANTA -- Still heavy into negotiations and deliberations, embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick continued on Saturday to mull his options in the dogfighting case he faces in federal court, and has still not completely ruled out the possibility of proceeding to trial on Nov. 26.
Sources with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations with prosecutors, and also with the discussions within the Vick camp, said a plea agreement -- if the quarterback decides to accept one -- may not come now before Monday. One source suggested a plea might not be entered until Tuesday; however, a U.S. District Court grand jury will convene on Monday to consider additional charges against the Atlanta Falcons' star.
It is believed that, if a superseding indictment is handed down against Vick, it will include racketeering charges, which could substantially increase his potential sentence should he be convicted.
The docket of U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, who is presiding over the case, currently indicates no cases for Monday, according to a government Web site.
"At a key moment like this in anyone's life, you want as much information as possible, and that's what Michael is trying to get," said one person close to the negotiations. "This is the biggest decision he'll ever face. This isn't like, 'Well, do I pass it or run it?' His [advisors] are trying to provide him with everything they can, every bit of information, so that he can then make the most informed decision possible."
It was expected by many, including Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, that Vick would make a plea by Friday, when two more of his co-defendants, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace, pleaded guilty. A third co-defendant, Tony Taylor, pleaded guilty last month.
But there was no plea by Vick on Friday and he continued to meet with members of his defense team, including attorney Billy Martin, a former federal prosecutor and one-time senior official at the Department of Justice.
Sources said that, in any plea, Vick would seek to avoid additional charges in Virginia, where Gerald Poindexter, the Commonwealth's attorney for Surry County, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday that he intends to pursue charges and to present evidence to the local grand jury when it convenes Sept. 25.The state charges could add a maximum 40 years in potential jail time, if Vick were convicted.
"Not having to deal [with charges in Virginia] is a key," said a source. "It's a big part of [the negotiations]."
In addition, the Vick defense team is attempting to gain some insight into how the NFL and the Falcons will proceed if the six-year veteran pleads guilty. In that regard, they are making little or no headway, at least at the league level.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week that, if Vick strikes a plea deal, the NFL will examine the plea and react accordingly. Several sources, both from the league and from the Vick camp, said Goodell has been steadfast in not offering any indication of what degree of sanctions he might consider. Goodell told reporters this week, on a tour of training camps, that he could rule on Vick within seven to 10 days of a plea.
The league continues to have its own investigator, Eric Holder, probe the Vick case. Before the commissioner imposed any sanctions, he would likely want to meet with Vick, and such a session has not been broached yet.
Blank told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio before the Falcons' preseason game against the Bills on Friday night at Orchard Park, N.Y., that he has not spoken recently to Vick. But senior Falcons officials have been in contact in recent days, including Friday, with people close to the quarterback.
In the interview with ESPN and another with a local NBC affiliate in Atlanta, Blank used the terms "very disturbing," and "very troubling" to describe the situation.
"From a personal perspective," Blank told Paolantonio, "it's just very sad. It's distressing after six years spending time with somebody, you think you know them, and then there's another side that is shocking to all of us."
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com
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
- Nike Boys' Home Game Jersey Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick #7