Prosecutors urge jail time for Wizards' Arenas

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:06pm EDT

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NBA, is trailed by reporters as he arrives to face felony gun charges at the District of Columbia Superior Courthouse in Washington, January 15, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NBA, is trailed by reporters as he arrives to face felony gun charges at the District of Columbia Superior Courthouse in Washington, January 15, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington Wizards three-time All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas should get three months in jail for bringing guns into the team's locker room, prosecutors said on Tuesday, but defense lawyers urged just probation and community service.

The two sides filed court documents ahead of Friday's scheduled sentencing for Arenas, who pleaded guilty on Jan 15 to felony weapons possession for bringing four guns into the locker room.

Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek more than six months in jail for Arenas. But Superior Court Judge Robert Morin is not bound by the agreement and could sentence Arenas to as little as probation or to as much as five years in jail.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh said in a 26-page sentencing memo that Arenas should get three months incarceration, three years of probation and be required to do 300 hours of community service.

He said that evidence uncovered by the government has contradicted claims by Arenas on when and why he brought the guns to the locker room, that Arenas feigned ignorance of the law to lessen the significance of his acts, and that Arenas attempted to minimize the extent of his guilt.

Arenas "has shown little genuine remorse for anything other than how this incident may affect his career," Kavanaugh said. "Contrary to the defendant's claim, his conduct was not a laughing matter."

Defense attorneys replied in a 37-page memo that Arenas has accepted responsibility and said justice would be best served with a sentence of probation and community service.

"Mr. Arenas is a man with an abundance of admirable character traits," Wainstein wrote.

"He is a genuinely caring person, he has long devoted himself to serving the community and others, and despite a history of pranks and misguided practical jokes, he is a peaceful man who is not aggressive or confrontation in any way," Wainstein said.

He said countless individuals have come forward to tell personal stories about Arenas, ranging from brief encounters when arenas was generous with his time to long-term friendships.

"This input ... paints a picture of a man who is somewhat off-beat, but fundamentally very decent and unfailing kind to others," Wainstein said.

At the end of January, the NBA suspended Arenas and team mate Javaris Crittenton without pay for the rest of the season for bringing guns into the locker room.

The two players brought the guns to the team's arena after a dispute during a flight home from a game in December. Crittenton also has pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to one year of probation.

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