Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Braylon Edwards appears in court
By Jane McManus
NEW YORK -- Both prosecutors and an attorney for Braylon Edwards said there have been ongoing discussions about a possible plea deal in the Jets wide receiver's drunken driving case.
"It's always a possibility, you want to have all options on the table," Edwards' attorney Peter Frankel said. "The more I learn about this case the more comfortable I feel about it."
Edwards appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday as part of the proceedings stemming from his Sept. 21 arrest on three counts -- two for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and one for operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Edwards allegedly had a .16 blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest, which is twice the legal limit.
"I'm sharing what I have with them. They're sharing what they have with me. Hopefully we can come to a resolution," Frankel said.
Frankel requested and was granted an extension from Judge Michael Yavinsky to file his first motions in the case until the first week of December. A deadline for prosecutors would follow. Edwards' next court date is Jan. 11.
"I think the schedule reflects what normally happens in these cases," Frankel said. "He is not getting special consideration."
If it is not delayed again, the Jets wide receiver's next court appearance would fall the Tuesday after the NFL's wild-card games.
Edwards, who could face a year in jail if found guilty, was dressed in a crisp taupe suit and aqua shirt. He walked out of the courtroom to a few discrete fist pumps of support from others in the courtroom. Without saying anything, he got into a waiting black Escalade with a friend and left.
Frankel characterized Edwards as focused on what was happening on the football field, which was reflected in his performance.
"He's scoring touchdowns," Frankel said.
Frankel also made sure to point out that Edwards isn't just the sum of what happened that night, adding that Edwards' foundation has given $1 million to a Cleveland schools scholarships fund. Frankel said he has also donated $500,000 to his alma mater, Michigan.
Edwards is currently on probation in Cleveland stemming from a Jan. 12 no-contest plea on a charge of misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct. Although Edwards faces potential jail time in the New York DWI, if he is found guilty it would set into motion proceedings in Ohio to determine if he had violated probation there, with a possible penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
When asked about whether or not he was in touch with probation officials in Cleveland, Frankel responded that he liked to talk to anyone around this case. Frankel also said that if the case went forward, he might move to suppress statements made at the time of Edwards' arrest.
"In due time. That's certainly something that we would need to deal with," Frankel said.
In the police report, an officer at the scene alleges that Edwards said he had been drinking and demonstrated a keen awareness of the procedure for field sobriety tests in Michigan.
If he pleads guilty to a lesser charge, Edwards could also face a possible penalty from the NFL for violation of the personal conduct policy. Neither the Jets nor the NFL have taken any action against Edwards pending the outcome of his case.
After the arrest was made public, Edwards apologized to fans.
"It's up to Rex Ryan, the powers that be, Mike Tannenbaum and the league to decipher punishment or discipline," Edwards said when he first spoke about it. "... I'm sorry but it's up to those guys just like it would be to a mother and father with a youngster."
Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.