DALLAS (AP) — Johnny Manziel was indicted Tuesday on a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from allegations that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend during a night out in January.
Already dropped by the Cleveland Browns, two separate agents and all of his endorsers, the 23-year-old will face the possibility of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The prosecution also further imperils an already jeopardized NFL career, particularly as the league takes a tougher public stance on domestic violence.
Here’s a look at the case and what’s expected to happen next:
Manziel’s ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, has accused him of hitting her as she tried to escape a car he was driving. She said he hit her hard enough to rupture her eardrum, causing temporary hearing loss.
Crowley alleged that she and Manziel had a confrontation in his hotel room around 1:45 a.m. Jan. 30 and that he forced her to leave the hotel with him. The two allegedly made it to her vehicle, which was in front of a Dallas bar. He began driving the car, but stopped when she tried to escape and dragged her back inside.
She said the two continued arguing as he drove her to her Fort Worth apartment, about 30 miles away.
A judge has granted Crowley a protective order against Manziel.
Manziel’s attorneys have said he will plead not guilty to the charge, made public Tuesday morning, and that they intend to fight the case. One attorney, Robert Hinton, told The Associated Press that both sides will meet with a judge to set a bond, and Manziel will be booked, likely later this week.
Rather than arresting Manziel, Dallas police sent their case for referral to a grand jury, which received the case last week. Lawyers watching the case have said that’s unusual.
“That doesn’t describe a very strong case for the state,” Hinton said, though he added that he thought authorities had been “totally fair, totally objective” in their handling of the case.
Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk said in a statement that the case would move forward.
“As always, we respect the criminal justice process and the decision that the Dallas County Grand Jury has made in regards to this case,” she said.
THE LIKELIHOOD OF A TRIAL
Hinton called the prospects of a deal before trial unlikely, but added such discussions were premature. But some note both sides have incentive to make a deal.
For Manziel, a highly publicized trial with testimony about his behavior that night — and possibly surveillance video as evidence — could worsen his already slim chances of returning to the NFL.
For prosecutors, a trial carries uncertainty and extra scrutiny on Crowley, who would likely be the main witness and whose credibility and conduct on the night of the alleged attack would be questioned.
David Finn, a Dallas attorney and former judge, predicted the sides would reach a deal, with Manziel possibly agreeing to undergo some kind of counseling or rehab.
But another Dallas attorney, Toby Shook, said the notoriety of the case might push it to trial.
“Usually a lawyer tries to work things out quietly,” the former prosecutor said. “That can’t be helped in this case.”
A CAREER IN JEOPARDY
Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, is a free agent without representation after two agents let him go while demanding he get a second round of treatment for drug and alcohol use. For the second agent, Drew Rosenhaus, it was the first time in his 27-year career that he terminated a contract with a player.
Manziel faces possible discipline under the NFL’s policy on domestic abuse, which was revamped after the league was widely criticized over its handling of former Baltimore running back Ray Rice’s domestic violence case.
Asked if Manziel would accept substance abuse or anger management treatment as part of a deal, Hinton said: “From a personal side, we certainly want to get all of our clients to seek the proper programs that they may need, whatever they are.”
AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report.
Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s Parliament has banned journalists from four news websites for trying to film interviews with lawmakers in areas off limits to the press.
Editors say that the excessive restrictions on where video crews can work in the legislature severely limit press freedom.
Journalists from the hvg.hu, 24.hu, Index.hu and nol.hu websites were banned indefinitely by Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover.
Andras Muranyi, chief editor of the Nepszabadsag daily newspaper and its nol.hu website, said Tuesday in a letter to Parliament press chief Zoltan Szilagyi that officials have “limited our work to an extremely constricted space, which undermines press freedoms, one of the fundamental rights.”
The restrictions also make it easier for lawmakers to avoid questions from the press.
Last year, a similar ban was imposed on RTL Klub, Hungary’s largest broadcaster.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A 107-year-old woman who gained Internet fame for her impromptu dance with President Barack Obama has received a temporary photo identification card after her lack of a birth certificate stymied her earlier efforts to get one.
The Washington Post reported last week that Virginia McLaurin could not obtain a replacement for a photo ID that was stolen years ago because she lacks a birth certificate.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser gave McLaurin a new temporary card Tuesday and announced regulations giving city residents 70 and older more options to obtain identification. New federal regulations have made it harder to get the ID required to board airplanes.
Without it, McLaurin couldn’t fly to New York or Los Angeles for interviews about her videotaped meeting with Obama that went viral online.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A fired Pittsburgh police sergeant has pleaded not guilty to charges he violated the civil rights of a drunken man by punching and pushing him during his November arrest then filed false reports to justify his actions.
Forty-seven-year-old Stephen Matakovich (mah-TAH’-koh-vitch) was charged by a federal grand jury earlier this month. He was arraigned before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and is free on bond.
Defense attorney Blaine Jones says the officer is prepared to fight the charges.
Matakovich was charged after security video from Heinz Field showed the suspect standing with his hands at his sides and not advancing when the officer suddenly pushes him down and then strikes him in the face as he tries to get to his feet. The suspect was treated for a bloody nose.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — An appeals court will hear the arguments of a former escort charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill her newlywed husband.
Florida’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed late last week to consider Dalia Dippolito’s argument that her case be thrown out because of alleged misconduct by police investigators. No hearing date is set.
Dippolito’s lawyers argue detectives pushed her former lover, Mohamed Shihadeh, to make her meet with an undercover officer posing as hit man even though Shihadeh wanted out of the investigation. The lawyers say Shihadeh threatened Dippolito with a gun when she balked at the meeting.
The video of Dippolito’s meeting with the pretend hit man became part of a “Cops” television show episode. Dippolito’s scheduled May trial will be postponed pending the ruling.
BEIJING (AP) — Police in southern China have detained three airline passengers after they were caught on video slapping, verbally abusing and throwing food at ground staff in anger over a delayed flight.
Video of Monday’s incident at the airport in the city of Changsha has circulated widely on the Internet as the latest example of bad behavior by Chinese airline passengers.
The three passengers had apparently become upset after their flight to the southern resort city of Sanya was delayed. As female staff tried to mollify passengers, two men and a woman shouted, flung the contents of a lunch box and finally slapped one of the staffers on the face.
The three passengers were detained by police, according to the website of the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.