Things got worse for Michael “Ookie” Vick today. Everyone’s favorite dogfighting proprietor got bad news today, as his last two co-defendants decided to plead guilty to the charges against them and agreed to assist the government in the case against the lone remaining defendant (Vick).
As always, when we need analysis of complicated legal matters we call on our lawyer friend “Booter” to assist us. Just to remind you of who Booter is, he’s a cross between Roger Cossack, Lionel Hutz and John “Bluto” Blutarsky. Yes, we actually know a lawyer, yes his nickname is “Booter” and yes we do have hours of compromising videotape that allows us to force him to lower himself to our level, so we can employ his services whenever we need him. Here’s what he had to say about the latest developments in the Vick case:
Today Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips (hopefully not relation to R&R’s Phillips) pleaded guilty to the charges against them and agreed to help the government with their case against Michael Vick. That means that Tony “T” Taylor, Peace and Phillips have all decided to flip on Vick, leaving him as the lone defendant in the case. To put it in football terms, if the United States Attorney’s office was playing defense against team Bad Newz Kennels, with Vick under center,
when “T” flipped it was like a blitzing linebacker making his way into the backfield. It was a bad situation, sure, but with Vick’s ability, he could juke his way to a four yard gain. With the defection of Peace and Phillips, the current situation is more like a botched shotgun snap over his head, while the entire offensive line decides to “Ole” block in the face of an all out blitz. It’s basically hopeless for the man who has done for dogfighting what Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden did for cocaine. We all knew it was around in sports, but those guys took it to another level.
When news of today’s plea agreements broke, it came with news that Vick had until Friday to accept the government’s plea deal or go to trial on the existing charges. There is also the real possibility that the government could tack on charges related to RICO violations, gambling related to the slaughter of dogs, or both. Obviously any additional charges against Vick would not bode well for him. An accusation of gambling would only add to any potential jail time, not to mention result in an even longer suspension from
Judge Dredd NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. So Vick is left with a choice of either taking Uncle Sam’s deal or he can try to go down fighting.
Multiple sources are reporting that Vick’s lawyers want any potential deal with the government to include less than a year in prison, while prosecutors want Vick to spend at least that, and likely more, behind bars. From a negotiating perspective, Vick doesn’t appear to have much to bargain with. Unless he has damning information on other dog fighting kingpins around the country that he is willing to give up in exchange for leniency, his only real leverage is to save the government the time, expense and hassle of going on trial. From my limited dealings with prosecutors and specifically the U.S. Attorney’s office, if they smell blood, they go in for the kill. In other words, they won’t bend and cut Vick a sweetheart deal of less than a year in jail, unless he gives them a damn good reason to.
My assessment is that the Feds will likely play hardball with Vick. They are in no hurry to get things over with, as they hold all the cards. As it stands now, Vick will likely have to agree to a prison term of at least 13-16 months.
Thanks Booter, as always for that excellent legal analysis. As always we salute you and your law degree, which continues to come in handy for us.
Just a few notes from the email Booter sent me:
-He does not think it’s likely that Vick will be sent to the Nash Correctional Institution in Raleigh, North Carolina, thereby ending McD’s dream of the most prolific prison QB/WR tandem ever. Bummer, because that Rae Carruth – Mike Vick pairing would have been sweet.
-He does, however, think that Vick really wishes his co-defendants had listened to Carmelo Anthony and the “Stop Snitching” movement.