By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
A motion to dismiss felony assault charges against Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was rejected by a judge in Miami yesterday. A trial is set to begin Monday.
Taylor's attorneys had asked for the dismissal, saying that the prosecution failed to provide pertinent information about the recent arrest histories of the alleged victims in the case.
Prosecutor Mike Grieco has contended that he was unaware of such information, and turned it over to the defense when it came to light. Grieco, who called the defense's allegations "baseless," said that he fully expects the case to go to trial Monday after several delays moved it back from the original fall court date. Taylor's legal team is preparing for trial as well.
"We understand the judge's reluctance to dismiss the whole case," said Richard Sharpstein, one of Taylor's attorneys. "But we think the state attorney should abandon the case. . . . Certainly it's their obligation to reconsider the case, but regardless, the evidence against their so-called witnesses and victims is dynamite, and we think it'll blow the case apart. We look forward to vindicating Sean."
Taylor's three charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon each could carry a three-year mandatory minimum sentence. Grieco said he has waived such minimums in past cases in exchange for probation and other contingencies, but he added that in this case the defense has made it known that it would only accept a plea bargain that lowered the offenses against Taylor to misdemeanors. That is not something Grieco is currently considering, and he said the chances of a pre-trial settlement are bleak at this point.
"The only thing that would prevent this going to trial Monday is if the judge has another case set for trial that is a higher priority case by age or seriousness of charges," Grieco said. "But for that, this case is going to trial. We've gone beyond the point of no return on this case."
Sharpstein's motion included detailed information regarding recent arrests of several alleged victims and witnesses in the case against Taylor. There were theft and drug charges involved, and one individual was arrested allegedly for stealing an all-terrain vehicle. Taylor has claimed that the alleged victims in his case fired on his property and stole two all-terrain vehicles from him June 4.
Taylor, 23, was Washington's first-round pick in 2004 -- fifth overall -- out of the University of Miami, and he started almost immediately for the team.