Attorneys for Vick Mull Plea Agreement

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and his attorneys were deliberating yesterday about whether to accept a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

There were indications that a deal could be completed quickly if Vick gives his approval. Sources familiar with the situation said that Vick's lawyers had made progress in recent days as they tried to negotiate an agreement with prosecutors that would be acceptable to Vick. They were attempting to limit his jail time to less than a year if he agreed to plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they said the deliberations were at a critical stage. The Virginian-Pilot reported that prosecutors planned to recommend at least a year of jail time if Vick pleads guilty.

"They're working on it," one person familiar with the talks said. "There could be something soon."

Prosecutors have asked Vick's attorneys for an answer by tomorrow, although sources said earlier in the week that was not necessarily a firm deadline. One of Vick's co-defendants has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, and two more have plea hearings scheduled. Vick could face additional charges if he does not agree to plead guilty.

NFL officials said they were not involved in any discussions with Vick's representatives about what the league's punishment would be if he pleads guilty. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he would not decide about a possible suspension until he receives a report from Eric Holder, the D.C. lawyer appointed by Goodell to oversee the league's review of the case. The league's personal conduct policy empowers Goodell to fine, suspend or impose a lifetime ban on a player for criminal behavior.

Vick is charged with participating in the operation of a dogfighting ring based at a property that he owned in southeastern Virginia. He pleaded not guilty last month and is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 26. Goodell ordered him not to report to the Falcons' training camp last month pending the outcome of the league review.

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