Thu, Aug 16, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Michael Vick's lawyers attempt to negotiate plea deal

AFP , ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Michael Vick's lawyers were trying to negotiate a plea deal with federal prosecutors that might limit his jail time and enable him to return to US football after his release, newspapers reported.

The Virginian-Pilot and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Vick's attorneys were discussing pleas in the wake of news that two other men who face charges in a dogfighting scheme were ready to make plea deals.

Deals for Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace would give prosecutors three potential witnesses to detail Vick's role in the operation, including accusations the Atlanta Falcons quarterback brutally killed several dogs.

Each newspaper cited unnamed sources in detailing the charges against Vick, who was told by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to stay away from his team's training camp.

Peace and Phillips are scheduled to face hearings later this week in US District Court at Richmond, Virginia. Another codefendant, Troy Taylor, signed a document saying the charges against Vick and the others were true.

Vick could face a superseding indictment with more charges against him and harsher potential punishments if he elects to fight the case rather than make a deal.

A source told the Virginian-Pilot the added charge would come under US racketeering laws and carry a potential 20 years in prison.

A trial date for Vick, Phillips and Peace was set for Nov. 26, three-quarters of the way into the NFL season. Taylor will be sentenced Dec. 14.

Goodell has launched his own investigation into the dogfight scandal and his willingness, or lack thereof, to allow Vick into the NFL after a guilty plea could be a major factor in Vick's choice to deal or fight.

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