Judge sets April 2 trial date for Vick on state dogfighting charges
SUSSEX, Va. -- Michael Vick's lead attorney left open the possibility of a plea agreement after the suspended NFL star was scheduled for an April 2 jury trial on state dogfighting charges.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge in August and voluntarily reported to jail last week, even though he will not be formally sentenced until Dec. 10.
As he left the courthouse, defense attorney Billy Martin was asked why Vick is fighting the state charges after pleading guilty in federal court.
"I can't tell you we're fighting them, I can't tell you we're taking a plea deal," Martin said. "We're going to look at this matter and give him some legal advice, and that has not been decided yet."
Vick was not in a Sussex courtroom Tuesday when Surry County Circuit Judge Samuel Campbell set Vick's trial date during a five-minute consultation with defense attorneys Lawrence Woodward and Martin and prosecutor Gerald Poindexter.
Vick, who's being held at a Warsaw, Va., jail, faces up to five years in prison for his federal conviction.
The two state charges -- beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting -- are also punishable by up to five years in prison each.
Vick's lawyers previously indicated they would fight the state charges on the grounds he can't be convicted twice of the same crime. Woodward declined to discuss that strategy before Tuesday's court proceedings.
Campbell also set trial dates of March 5 for co-defendants Quanis L. Phillips and Purnell A. Peace and a May 7 trial for Tony Taylor.
Vick and the three co-defendants pleaded guilty to the federal charge in U.S. District Court in Richmond. In an Aug. 27 plea agreement, Vick admitted bankrolling a dogfighting enterprise and providing gambling money, as well as helping to kill six to eight dogs.
In another development, Vick agreed to federal prosecutors' demand that he set aside about $928,000 for the care of pit bulls seized from the dogfighting operation.
Prosecutors last week filed court papers seeking a freeze on money, saying they were concerned about Vick's "deteriorating financial condition." Several creditors are suing Vick for more than $5 million, and an arbitrator has ruled he should repay the Falcons nearly $20 million in bonus money.
A consent order entered Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Richmond says Vick has agreed to place the money in an escrow account maintained by Martin's law firm. The money must be deposited by Friday.
The dogfighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels operated since 2001 on Vick's 15-acre spread in Surry County. A drug investigation of a Vick relative led authorities to the property, where they found more than 50 pit bulls and equipment commonly used in dogfighting.
Tuesday, 10 protesters from the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stood outside the courthouse in rural southeastern Virginia. They held placards with pictures of injured dogs and the messages "Report Dogfighters!" and "Dogs Deserve Justice."
"The message is loud and clear, that all dogfighters must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are," PETA protester Melissa Karpel said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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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
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