- Kelly Naqi
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Prosecutors for the Miami-Dade state attorney's office informed Judge Carroll Kelly that they have dropped a misdemeanor domestic battery charge against former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
Sapp was arrested Feb. 6, the day before Super Bowl XLIV, for allegedly choking a woman in his Florida hotel room. At the time, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders player was working for the NFL Network as an analyst on its Super Bowl coverage, but was pulled off the air when his arrest came to light.
Sapp, who was not present in court Wednesday when the charge was dropped, said via text message: "The State Attorney's office declined to file charges. BS is over!"
"We appreciate that the State Attorney's office conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and determined that no charges should be filed," Sapp's attorney, Christopher Lyons, said in a statement.
"From the beginning, Mr. Sapp was always confident that the system would work and he would be cleared of any wrongdoing. Warren looks forward to putting this matter behind him."
A female acquaintance of Sapp's alleged that she had an altercation with him at about 6 a.m. ET on Feb. 6 at the Shore Club Hotel in Miami Beach, where Sapp was staying while working for the NFL Network. The accuser told police detectives that she and her friends were partying with Sapp at the hotel when she grew tired and asked Sapp for his room key.
The woman said Sapp came to the room a few hours later, woke her up and they began to argue. According to the arrest affidavit, the woman claimed Sapp choked her, pushed her down on a couch, grabbed her by her shirt and neck and threw her down again. The affidavit also stated the accuser had a swollen knee and bruises on her neck.
According to a prosecution memo, further investigation uncovered problems with the victim's account. For example, she told police that a man helped her walk down a hotel hallway, but surveillance video shows her walking with the man unassisted. She also told investigators that she had trouble walking after the alleged attack, but surveillance footage shows that she walked without a limp.
"Victim gave sworn testimony that she was in excruciating pain from the moment she fell on her knee and was teary-eyed while in the lobby moments after the incident," the memo states. "However, there is a security witness who observed the victim giggling with an anonymous man, as well as walking in high heels without any trouble."
Sapp had told investigators that he let the woman stay in his room but asked her to leave a few hours later. Sapp said she fell on her leg when he tried to help her get off a couch.
A telephone message left with a Miami Beach Police Department spokesman was not immediately returned.
Sapp later was removed from his role as an analyst for Showtime's "Inside the NFL." He has not appeared on either network since the allegations were made.
The NFL Network on Wednesday said in a statement that it would
now "sit down" with Sapp and review his status.
The 13-year NFL veteran, who retired in 2008, was a runner-up two years ago on the ABC television show "Dancing with the Stars."
Kelly Naqi is a reporter for ESPN. Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was included in this report.