Vick facing new dogfighting charges
EmptyWAVERLY, Va. -- Atlanta Falcons football star Michael Vick faced additional dogfighting charges Tuesday when he was indicted by a local court in Virginia, one month after pleading guilty in a federal case.
Vick, 27, faces up to 10 years in state prison, on top of his federal prison sentence, and a suspension from the NFL.
A grand jury in Surry County, Va., indicted Vick for beating, killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting.
The grand jury declined to charge Vick on eight additional counts of killing a dog or causing a dog to be killed.
"We can assure you that this grand jury was not driven by racial prejudice, their affection or lack of affection for professional athletes, or the influence of animal rights activists or their attendant publicity," Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter said in a statement.
Vick has already been punished for the behavior outlined in the state charges, his lawyer said.
"Mr. Vick's legal team will examine these state charges and will aggressively protect his rights to ensure that he is not held accountable for the same conduct twice," lawyer Billy Martin said in a statement.
Vick admitted guilt in August to federal charges that he took part in an illegal dogfighting enterprise known as 'Bad Newz Kennels' on property he owns in Surry County from 2001 to April 2007.
Vick admitted as part of that plea deal that he had bought the Surry County property to serve as the main staging area for housing and training pit bulls for the dogfighting venture.
Prosecutors in the federal case charged that dogs sometimes fought to the death, and that some underperforming animals had been shot, hanged, drowned, electrocuted or killed by being slammed to the ground.
The quarterback faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on Dec. 10.
The NFL suspended Vick indefinitely. He has also lost lucrative contracts with companies such as Nike Inc.