Prosecutors Offer Redskins’ Haynesworth Plea Deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth allegedly slid his credit card into the bra of a waitress and then touched her breast, according to court papers filed Wednesday offering Haynesworth a plea deal in the sexual abuse case.
Haynesworth’s lawyer, however, said the deal was not one he’d take and that his client would fight the charge. Prosecutors filed paperwork in Superior Court in Washington saying that if Haynesworth agrees to plead guilty to simple assault they would drop the misdemeanor sexual abuse charge. Both charges carry the same maximum penalty, however, up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Haynesworth’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday to The Associated Press that the offer was “no deal at all, nor is it one we would entertain.”
“My client is prepared to, and will vigorously fight these charges,” he wrote.
It is typical for prosecutors to offer a plea deal at the start of misdemeanor proceedings and to share details of their case at that time.
An overview of the government’s case, filed with the plea offer in court documents, includes a fuller description of the alleged incident at The W Hotel in Washington in mid-February. The eight-page document stated that Haynesworth was attending a birthday party the night of Feb. 12-13 and was ready to pay the bill of more than $800 when his waitress was called over with her hands full of dishes.
Insisting he wanted to pay immediately and before she could drop off the dishes, Haynesworth tapped the woman on her arm and shoulder with his card, according to the court papers. The waitress “looked up and down at herself, as if wondering where (Haynesworth) expected her to put (the card),” when he slid the card down the center of her bra and began touching her breast, the documents allege. He said something to the effect of “Can I do that?,” the documents state.
One witness who saw the exchange believed that the waitress had agreed to let Haynesworth place the card in her bra, but reported that her tone turned stern and she asked him to remove his hand after he touched her, according to the documents. The card was ultimately declined, and another waitress took it back to Haynesworth, prosecutors say in the document.
After the waitress told other employees what had happened, a security person at the hotel approached Haynesworth and asked him whether he remembered having any contact with the woman.
“I didn’t touch her,” Haynesworth responded, according to the document, adding that he doesn’t “even like black girls.”
When police detectives later tried to interview Haynesworth, he spontaneously told them, according to court papers: “I know what this is about, she is just upset I have a white girlfriend. I couldn’t tell you the last time I dated a black girl. She was trying to get with me.”
He refused to be interviewed further but did later provide a sworn statement to the government.
Haynesworth had a tumultuous 2010 season with the Redskins that ended when he was suspended without pay for the final four games of the season for “conduct detrimental to the club.” He has constantly feuded with coach Mike Shanahan, skipped offseason workouts and failed to pass a conditioning test at the start of training camp. He did not start a game last season, despite being in the second year of a seven-year, $100 million contract.
Asked on Wednesday what he thinks of the sexual abuse charge, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said it would not be fair for him to give his opinion without talking to Haynesworth.
“Any time that somebody’s name that’s out there that’s associated with this organization that’s not positive, obviously you don’t feel very good about it,” Shanahan said. “But you want to get the facts first, and I haven’t been able to talk to Albert. Therefore I don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
Haynesworth has until May 17 to decide whether to accept the plea offer.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)