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Posted at 02:22 PM ET, 08/22/2011

No contest plea for Albert Haynesworth in assault, staving off trial

Former Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth entered a no contest plea to one count of simple assault Monday, one day before he was scheduled to go on trial on charges of sex assault.

As part of his plea agreement, Haynesworth agreed to an alcohol abuse assessment and a psychological-social assessment — as well as to stay away from the victim, a cocktail waitress at the downtown W Hotel he admitted to groping, and perform community service — within 18 months. If he does so, his record will be cleared.

Simple assault is a lesser charge than the sex charge, which the government agreed to drop; Haynesworth cannot be tried on that charge even if he fails to meet the conditions of his plea agreement. A Feb. 21 hearing was scheduled in the case.

The maximum penalty for simple assault is a 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“I do not contest the goverment’s proffer of facts,” said Haynesworth in court Monday after the prosecution read the details of what happened at the hotel. He had been charged with fondling a waitress as he paid his bill at the W Hotel’s P.O.V. Roof Terrace Lounge early Feb. 13 after a party.

The NFL will review Haynesworth's case under its personal conduct policy, according to a league spokesman. The policy enables NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to fine or suspend players for off-field misconduct.

The prosecution promised to be difficult for a number of reasons. The victim was hesitant to testify, according to sources familiar with the case. And both sides had accused the other of offering money to influence the outcome. The U.S. Attorney’s office had no immediate comment on the the victim’s lack of cooperation.

Last week, assistant U.S. attorneys Heide L. Herrmann and Sharon Donovan alleged in a filing that Haynesworth’s attorneys offered money to the alleged victim in the sex-abuse case against him in hopes of getting her to persuade the government to drop the charges.

Their filing came days after Haynesworth’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, made a similar accusation in his own filing. Bolden asked the judge overseeing the trial to force prosecutors to provide evidence, including the testimony of a security guard who allegedly told a grand jury that he saw Haynesworth grope the waitress

The guard later told one of Bolden’s private detectives that the contact was “consensual” and that he was offered $50,000 to testify on behalf of the waitress from a man who introduced himself as the woman’s attorney, Bolden said.

Haynesworth’s trial was scheduled to start Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court. He had pleaded not guilty in the case.

The Redskins traded Haynesworth to the New England Patriots in July.

This item has been updated.

Post staffer Mark Maske contributed to this item.

By  |  02:22 PM ET, 08/22/2011

Categories:  Keith L. Alexander, Celebrities, The District

 
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