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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Mike Goodson to plead not guilty

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

New York Jets running back Mike Goodson, arrested last Friday for drug and weapon possession, will plead not guilty to all charges Wednesday morning at his arraignment in Morris County, N.J., his attorney said Tuesday.

Goodson informed the Jets that the handgun discovered by police in an SUV at the time of the arrest didn't belong to him, according to his New Jersey-based attorney, Anthony J. Fusco. Goodson, whose future with the team is uncertain, met Monday morning with Jets general manager John Idzik and later with coach Rex Ryan.

Fusco said he spoke to Jets officials later Monday, reiterating that Goodson isn't the owner of the gun.

"The gun isn't ours," Fusco said in a phone interview. "We're hoping, after the prosecution does its investigation, that's the way it plays out. I'm confident that's what will happen. I told Mike, 'These gun charges are very serious.'"

Goodson was arrested after 3 a.m. Friday during a traffic stop on Route 80 in New Jersey. He was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a loaded handgun, possession of hollow-point ammunition, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Both Goodson and the driver, Garant Evans, 31, of Roselle, N.J., were intoxicated, according to police. Goodson required medical attention at a local hospital.

Fusco said Goodson had no idea there was a gun, marijuana or drug paraphernalia in the car. He acknowledged that Goodson was drunk -- he was so intoxicated that he was transported by ambulance to the hospital -- but he stressed that the running back wasn't driving the car.

Goodson is scheduled for a pre-indictment conference on June 12, according to the Morris County Superior Court. That falls on the second day of the Jets' three-day, mandatory minicamp.

If Goodson pleads guilty or is convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun, he will be subject to the Graves Act, a New Jersey law that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years. There is a chance the charges could be amended.

Evans' attorney, Joseph Afflitto, said he didn't have any information regarding gun ownership. He wasn't retained until Tuesday morning and hasn't had a chance to meet with his client, who remains in custody and pleaded not guilty to all charges via video conference during Tuesday's arraignment. Evans' bail was reduced from $150,000 to $75,000.

The gun charge could be dropped for either Goodson or Evans if the police determine who it belonged to, but Carroll said both occupants of a vehicle still can be found guilty of charges relating to one gun or hollow-point bullets under a clause called constructive possession.

The Jets signed Goodson to a three-year, $6.9 million contract in March, envisioning him as a major contributor in their backfield. On Tuesday, owner Woody Johnson said the team still was collecting information on the case.

"We're trying to win games and do the right thing. Truth, justice and the American way," Johnson told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Boston. "We live by it, we really do."