Burress to Face Weapon Charge
Plaxico Burress's attorney told the Associated Press he's been informed that the New York Giants wide receiver will face a charge of criminal possession of a weapon.
Benjamin Brafman wrote in an e-mail to the AP that Burress will turn himself in Monday morning and will plead not guilty to the charge.
Burress suffered a thigh wound when he reportedly shot himself in the leg accidentally Friday night at a New York nightclub. According to several reports, Burress was not properly licensed to carry the weapon in New York.
Burress was released from a New York hospital on Saturday. He already had been ruled out of today's game against the Washington Redskins because of a previous hamstring injury.
There also are questions about the role of Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce in the incident. Pierce reportedly was with Burress at the New York nightclub at which the shooting took place Friday night.
The New York Daily News reported today that Pierce potentially could face criminal charges as well. Pierce allegedly attempted to hide the gun after the shooting, police sources told the Daily News.
The New York Post reported that, according to records, Burress does not have a permit to carry a gun in New York.
Burress had a concealed-weapon permit issued to him in Florida but records show it expired in May and New York does not recognize out-of-state permits anyway, the newspaper reported. The report in the Daily News indicated the same thing.
Thomas King, the president of the New York Rifle and Pistol Association, told the Post: "New York has the most restrictive pistol-licensing system in the United States. It recognizes absolutely no out-of-state permits. An out-of-stater never has the authority to carry" there.
The Post reported that criminal possession of a loaded weapon is a felony in New York that is punishable by up to a year in prison.
The Daily News reported that Burress faces up to five years in prison for the felony..
Pierce's attorney was in discussions with the police to attempt to prevent Pierce from being charged for his role in the incident, according to the Daily News report. The Daily News reported that Pierce took the gun and put it somewhere in New Jersey after the shooting.
According to the Daily News report, Pierce applied pressure to Burress's wound after the shooting and berated Burress for taking a loaded handgun into the nightclub. Burress told Pierce not to call 911 and initially didn't want to go to the hospital but, after being helped out of the club by Pierce, went to a hospital two hours later with his wife and a friend, the Daily News reported. The Giants reported the incident to police and officers were turned away from Burress's home in New Jersey by his wife around 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the newspaper.
According to the report in the Daily News, Pierce's attorney told police that Pierce would cooperate with the investigation if not charged. A Giants official went to New Jersey on Saturday to retrieve the weapon and turn it over to police but officers still planned to obtain a warrant to search Pierce's car, the Daily News reported.
The Daily News reported that Burress shot himself when he fumbled with the gun after it slipped down his pants leg. Burress initially was turned away at the nightclub because he had a gun but was let in around midnight after telling the club's management that he needed the firearm to protect himself, according to the Daily News.
The Giants indicated in a written statement Saturday that Burress suffered an injury to his right thigh in an accidental shooting Friday. Burress was released from a New York City hospital Saturday afternoon, according to the Giants' statement. The Giants declined to release details of the incident, indicating that it could become a matter for law enforcement officials.
The Giants did not indicate how seriously Burress was hurt but there was a report that he could be ready to play again within a couple weeks.
Burress, 31, also faces possible discipline by the NFL under its personal conduct policy. The Giants indicated in their statement that they'd been in contact with NFL security officials.
The NFL has a gun policy that prohibits players from taking firearms to team- and league-related events. The policy reportedly also warns players about carrying unlicensed firearms, saying that could subject them to league discipline as well as criminal charges.
The NFL guns and weapons policy reads, in part: "If you violate this policy on guns and other weapons, you are subject to discipline, including suspension from playing. And if you violate a public law covering weapons--for example, possession of an unlicensed firearm--you are not only subject to discipline, including suspension from playing, but also subject to criminal prosecution."
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