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Michael Vick to Plead Guilty, Suspended from NFL

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Michael Vick to Plead Guilty, Suspended from NFL


Michael Vick to Plead Guilty, Suspended from NFL

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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I'm Michel Martin. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Coming up: Iraq and Vietnam. After years of denying any comparison, President Bush embraces it. We ask two veterans their view.

And, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is expected to resign today. We'll tell you what we know.

But first: major developments in the Michael Vick case. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is expected to plead guilty to charges connected to dog fighting today. And as we've discussed before, my husband Billy Martin is the lead attorney for Vick in this matter. So I'm going to ask my colleague, NPR correspondent Allison Keyes, to step in. Allison.

ALLISON KEYES: Thanks, Michel.

On Friday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick signed a plea deal in Richmond, Virginia, admitting his guilt to the dog fighting operation. The star quarterback was also suspended indefinitely by the National Football League and may have to repay millions to the team.

To bring us an update, we have Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter, Jeremy Redmon. He joins us from Richmond, Virginia. Welcome, Jeremy.

Mr. JEREMY REDMON (Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution): Hello.

KEYES: We're going to start with the case, even though the plea agreement happened on Friday because fallout was going on all weekend. What's the maximum punishment he's facing - fines and jail time?

Mr. REDMON: He faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines that, under federal sentencing guidelines and as part of his plea deal with prosecutors, the range is really 12 to 18 months. The judge in the case, Henry Hudson, could go above or below that, and he has shown in past cases that he can issue harsh sentences if the facts warrant it.

KEYES: The NFL has also suspended him indefinitely, and it appears that the Falcons are going to be asking him to repay $22 million. What does all this mean for Vick's career, or will he still have one?

Mr. REDMON: The suspension from the NFL right now is their initial step. The commissioner from the NFL has said that's he's going to review Vick's status after all his legal proceedings are over. The NFL's anti-gambling policy specifically prohibits players from gambling or even associating with people who gamble. And a big part of this case is, in fact, gambling. Vick has admitted in his plea agreement with prosecutors that he funded most of the amount of the gambling monies. So that is a significant development in this case. The Falcons have issued a statement supporting the NFL's indefinite suspension of Vick.

KEYES: As part of his agreement, Vick said he will cooperate with the authorities, and there are a lot of rumors swirling that this could lead to other NFL players who were involved in this. What do you think about that?

Mr. REDMON: None of my sources are telling me that NFL players are involved. It's certainly a possibility, but they have no evidence that that's the case. As part of his plea deal, you're right. He has to cooperate with federal prosecutors in letting them know, essentially, about any criminal activity he's aware of, and that can involve naming names of other people who are involved in the dogfights.

KEYES: How are people reacting to this in Atlanta? What are people saying on the street?

Mr. MINER: Outside the courthouse, where people were standing in line to see Vick in his day in court, you have people on both sides of the fence. Someone showed up, who is a detractor of Vick's, wearing a shirt that says my dog hates Michael Vick. And there's another, a gentleman in line, who was wearing a number seven Vick jersey, who says, look, you know, I support Vick. I'm here to support him. He showed guts by admitting his guilt and taking responsibility for his acts. So you have people on both sides of the fence coming to cheer him and boo him today.

KEYES: Jeremy Redmon, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, joined us by phone from Richmond, Virginia. Jeremy, thanks a lot.

Mr. REDMON: My pleasure.

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