Tyson Plea Talks Fail, Trial Set in Assault Case

By
TysonTalk

Published: February 26, 2004

Thu 26 February, 2004 18:16

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Last-minute negotiations have broken down to settle an assault case against former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson and he is now to face trial for his part in a hotel brawl.

Brooklyn
Criminal Court Judge John Carter ordered jury selection to begin on
Thursday for Tyson’s trial over the brawl in a Brooklyn hotel last year
with two other men.

Prosecutor John O’Mara said Tyson was offered a plea deal, but opted to go to trial instead.

Tyson’s lawyer, Mel Sachs said, “We wanted a complete dismissal of the charges and we didn’t get that.”

Tyson,
37, is charged with assaulting Samuel Velez and Nestor Alvarez last
June at the Marriott Hotel after the pair approached the ex-champion
for an autograph. Tyson pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault.

Velez and Alvarez are charged with menacing and harassing Tyson. They pleaded not guilty.

Negotiations
had been under way for more than a month, but another last-minute round
of talks before a scheduled court hearing on Thursday failed to break
the impasse.

“I’m disappointed but I shouldn’t be disappointed,” Tyson told reporters outside the court. “I have no other choice.”

Tyson
has had several highly publicized run-ins inside and outside the ring.
He served three years in prison for the 1991 rape of a former beauty
queen and was suspended from boxing after he bit the ears of opponent
Evander Holyfield in a 1997 heavyweight title bout.

Prosecutors
have said they could present 11 witnesses to the incident and medical
records that they said detailed injuries suffered by Velez and Alvarez.

Source: Reuter.

Mike Tyson enters the criminal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his attorney, Mel Sachs, left, Thursday, Feb. 26.

More quotes and pictures available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

Update:

At the last minute Tyson struck a plea deal after all.
See news-post above.

Mike Tyson ready for trial

Saying he is financially on the ropes,
ex-heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson was ready to start picking a
jury today in his assault case stemming from a public brawl last summer
at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel.

Despite last minute closed door meetings between prosecutors, Tyson’s
lawyers and Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge John Carter this
morning, no agreement could be reached to dispose of the case. Carter
then set jury selection for 2:15 today.

Outside court, Tyson, who said he has been doing roadwork and light
sparring to keep his weight down, told reporters he was planning to go
to Mexico or Costa Rica to begin serious training so he can begin
making money.

“Believe it or not I am at the brink of starving to death,” said Tyson, “I just want to pay my bills.”

Tyson said he might leave as soon as today to travel although he did
not respond when asked what he would do if jury selection — which
officials said might last two days — also went forward today as
planned. He filed for bankruptcy in August 2003, claiming debts of $ 27
million, including $17 million in taxes.

Tyson has been charged with assault, disorderly conduct and harrassment
stemming from a brawl he had with two Pennsylvania men he said
confronted him outside the Marriott in the early morning hours of June
21, 2003.

The fight, which started outside the hotel spread into its lobby and
surveillance cameras caught Tyson landing some punches on the two men.

The two alleged victims, Samuel Velez and Nelson Alvarez-Ramos,
suffered lacerations, bruises and other injuries in the fight,
according to the original criminal complaint in the case.

Both Velez and Alvarez-Ramos were charged with menacing and harrasment
in the case but are not going to testify against Tyson, according to
the fighter’s attorney Mel Sachs.

According to Sachs, Tyson was provoked by the pair in the fight by
taunts of “you’ve got fists, we got guns,” thus putting the former
champ in fear of his life.

This morning Tyson sat with his sister, Jacqueline Rowe, in court,
looking through the latest edition of Boxing Collector’s News, a
publication about memorabilia collectors in the world of boxing.

As he waited in court, Tyson said he was doing just enought physical
activity to stay and shape and keep his weight down, which he said
fluctuates between 236-240 pounds.

Later, Tyson said he needed to start fighting again although he said
his prior run-ins with the law–he called them “antics”–made it
unclear as to where he could fight in the U.S.

“I am no longer a big program fighter,” Tyson said, refering to his
inability to pull in big multi-million dollar deals. But he thought
once he got into shape he could get some million dollar fight
committments.

“I will be all right,” Tyson said as he left for lunch.

Source: newsday