August 3, 2009 / 7:32 PM / 10 years ago

Burress indicted on weapons charges

Former NFL player Plaxico Burress gives a statement outside of Manhattan criminal court after testifying before a grand jury in New York July 29, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was indicted on Monday on two felony counts accusing him of criminal possession of a weapon and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment, prosecutors said.

Burress, 31, who caught the winning touchdown in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory in February 2008, was released by the team after a November 2008 incident in which he accidentally shot himself in the leg at a New York nightclub.

The accusations put his stellar career in jeopardy, costing him millions of dollars in salary. If convicted, he faces at least three and a half years in prison and a maximum of 15 years.

Prosecutors and the defense had been in talks over a plea deal that would have resulted in a two-year sentence, but those talks broke down, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told a news conference.

“The case required a more protracted investigation than does a typical weapons-possession case, given the number of witnesses and the need to investigate events both before and after the shooting,” Morgenthau said in a statement.

“The case is treated like any similar case against any other defendant,” he said.

Antonio Pierce, a Giants linebacker who was with Burress at the time of the shooting, was not charged. Pierce took the gun back to his home after the shooting, prosecutors said.

Burress’ attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement his client is “available to play this season.”

He added he does not expect a trial before the spring of 2010. “Although disappointed, we are not surprised, as the facts in this case have not been in dispute since the date of the incident,” he said.

Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara

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