Vick leaves federal lockup in Kansas

Updated: March 25, 2009, 6:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

RICHMOND, Va. -- Suspended NFL star Michael Vick has left a federal lockup in Kansas, apparently bound for Virginia to appear at a bankruptcy hearing next week.

Vick was at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said. The bureau's Web site simply listed Vick as being "in transit" and Ponce said she could not disclose the inmate's ultimate destination until he arrives.

Vick left federal prison camp in Leavenworth, Kan., at 3:24 a.m. and was transferred by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Vick is en route to Virginia because he has been ordered to appear in person to testify at his bankruptcy confirmation hearing by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro on April 2. Vick, who was once the NFL's highest paid player, owes millions of dollars to creditors. He will be transported by the U.S. Marshals Service back to the federal penitentiary in Kansas after his Chapter 11 bankruptcy hearing is over.

Vick left Kansas nine days before his hearing because he has to use the same transportation system that the U.S. Marshals Service uses for every other inmate. Vick is being transferred along with other prisoners who have to make their own court dates.

"He's not the only [prisoner] who ever moved," Deputy U.S. Marshal Lisa Berger said. "We have a system. It's done in a way so all [prisoners] will make their court hearings."

The Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center is a transfer hub the U.S. Marshals Service uses when transporting federal prisoners to different locations. A source at the prison, who declined to be quoted by name, says the facility processes up to 500 inmates a day.

Another judge issued a court order directing federal marshals to bring the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback to Virginia for the hearing. It was unclear how long Vick would be at the Oklahoma facility and when he might arrive in Virginia.

Vick's attorneys did not immediately return phone messages left by The Associated Press.

Vick is serving 23 months for bankrolling a dogfighting conspiracy. He is eligible to move into home confinement no earlier than May 21 and is scheduled to be released from custody July 20.

Vick will likely be kept in a southeastern Virginia jail until the hearing, but it wasn't known which one. Newport News sheriff Gabe Morgan said he had not been notified that Vick would be staying in the city jail, but it was possible Vick and federal marshals would show up unannounced.

The judge overseeing Vick's bankruptcy case rejected the idea of allowing testimony by video hookup, saying he needed Vick in the courtroom so he could assess his demeanor and credibility.

Vick's plan for paying his creditors is based largely on his intention to resume his NFL career. Vick was suspended indefinitely after his 2007 indictment, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will review Vick's status after he is released.

The Falcons still hold the contract rights to Vick but have said they will try to trade him. Vick's bankruptcy plan would allow him to keep the first $750,000 of his annual pay. After that, a percentage would go to his creditors based on a sliding scale.

ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO SEE