The article incorrectly said that in a 2003 case in California Gilbert Arenas possessed a gun that was properly registered in Arizona. There is no requirement for gun registration in Arizona, where Arenas legally purchased the weapon. He was convicted in California for not having the gun registered in that state.
Gilbert Arenas charged with felony gun possession; Wizards guard reaches plea agreement
Friday, January 15, 2010
Gilbert Arenas was charged Thursday with a single count of carrying a pistol without a license, a felony that carries a five-year sentence, but the Washington Wizards guard has reached a plea agreement that could result in much less or even no jail time, several sources close to the case said.
Arenas is scheduled to plead guilty Friday afternoon before D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin, who must decide Arenas's sentence.
Regardless of whether Arenas goes to jail, the star's future in the city that once embraced his jocular personality and his ability to hit clutch jump shots is in doubt. The former all-star, whose 25th birthday party drew national celebrities and created a buzz throughout the region, was the face of the Wizards. He has four years remaining on a six-year, $111 million contract with the team. But he has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA, and his relationship with his team appears to be fractured.
Arenas, 28, and his attorney, Kenneth L. Wainstein, declined to comment, as did officials in the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Arenas was charged by prosecutors in a one-count "information" filed in D.C. Superior Court. Informations generally are filed when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty to the charge. Officially, the information charges Arenas with carrying a pistol without a license, outside of a home or place of business. A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case, but no indictment has been returned.
The charges stem from a now infamous incident in the Wizards' locker room at Verizon Center on Dec. 21. Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton had gotten into an argument over a card game on the team plane two days before. Crittenton allegedly said he should shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired left knee, sources have said. At Verizon Center, Arenas placed four unloaded guns on a chair next to Crittenton's locker with a note that said "pick one."
Two witnesses told The Washington Post that Crittenton then pulled his own gun, loaded it and cocked it. He never pointed it at anyone, the witnesses said, and the situation soon calmed down. And just hours before the charges against Arenas were filed on Thursday, Arlington and D.C. police searched Crittenton's home looking for the gun, according to sources familiar with the investigation and court papers.
Police did not find the gun or seize any other evidence at his Arlington home, Crittenton's lawyer and the court papers said.
"I can confirm that a search warrant was executed on Mr. Crittenton's apartment today, that Mr. Crittenton cooperated with the officers conducting the search, and that no evidence was found or seized by police," Peter White, Crittenton's lawyer, said in an e-mailed statement.
According to the court papers, police were looking for a "silver/chrome-colored semiautomatic handgun with a black handle or similar/like artifact." They also were looking for ammunition, holsters, and "any photographs, video footage, or other media depicting the subject posing with a firearm."
For the past week, Arenas, his attorney and prosecutors have been discussing a plea deal, sources close to the case said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
Arenas said in a statement last week that he was joking in the locker room and he apologized to his teammates and fans. He acknowledged that he had brought four guns into D.C. from Virginia and said they were not loaded at any time. Even if he owned the guns legally in Virginia, it is illegal to have them in the District if they are not licensed in the city.