Plax playing a waiting game
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
If you're looking for closure in the gun possession case against Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, Tuesday's court appearance probably wasn't what you were looking for. As expected, Burress made a brief (45 seconds) appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court, where both sides agreed to adjourn the case until June 15.
Prosecutor John Wolfstaetter said the district attorney's office was continuing its investigation, but in reality, the prosecution has all the evidence it needs. What you're seeing right now is a dance between Burress' high-profile attorney, Benjamin Brafman, and the prosecution. I would be shocked if this case ever goes to trial.
At some point before June 15, the two sides will announce a plea agreement. Brafman wants to keep his client out of jail, but the prosecution is under a lot of pressure (remember Mayor Michael Bloomberg's comments?) to make sure that Burress doesn't receive any special favors. After listening to ESPN.com legal analyst Lester Munson this morning, it sounds like three to four months in jail might be the best-case scenario for Burress. There is some precedent for defendants receiving split sentences, which might allow Burress to serve his sentence in the offseason. But something tells me that would come across as too lenient in the eyes of Mayor Bloomberg.
That's why it's imperative for Burress to reach an agreement quickly if he wants to play in '09. Since it looks like jail time is inevitable, Burress should want to begin his sentence as soon as possible. As Munson so eloquently said this morning, "That was the only smart thing Michael Vick did."
Brafman wanted to make one thing clear about Burress' status with the Giants when he read a statement to reporters Tuesday.
"Everyone has asked me whether or not Mr. Burress is going to play this season," said the attorney. "I think that's a decision for him, his management team and the New York Giants, so I'm not going to comment on that. I assume a lot will depend on how, when and if this case is resolved. June 15 is the next day we're back unless there's a reason to come back."
For more on the story, here's Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger. Garafolo, who looked resplendent in a beige suit, made sure to stand directly behind Brafman during his news conference.