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Michael Vick Indicted By Grand Jury


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Michael Vick Indicted By Grand Jury

Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Charged With Violating Federal Laws Against Dog Fighting

RICHMOND, Va, July 17, 2007

(CBS/AP) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges related to illegal dog fighting.

Vick and three others were charged with violating federal laws against competitive dog fighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting and conducting the enterprise across state lines.

Vick and the other defendants — Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips and Tony Taylor — were involved in an ongoing animal fighting venture based out of Vick's home in Smithfield, Va., from early 2001 to April 2007, according to a statement released by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Vick faces $350,000 in fines and six years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Telephone messages left at the offices and home of Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward, were not immediately returned.

A woman who answered the phone at the home of Vick's mother said the family knew nothing about the charges.

On July 7, federal authorities conducted a second search of the Surry, Va., property owned by Vick that is the center of the dog fighting investigation.

According to court documents filed by federal authorities earlier this month, dog fights have been sponsored by "Bad Newz Kennels" at the property since at least 2002. For the events, participants and dogs traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Texas and other states.

Fifty-four pit bulls were recovered from the property during searches in April, along with a "rape stand," used to hold dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified for dogs; and a bloodied piece of carpeting, the documents said.

During a June search of the property, investigators uncovered the graves of seven pit bulls that were killed by members of "Bad Newz Kennels" following sessions to test whether the dogs would be good fighters, the documents alleged.

Members of "Bad Newz Kennels" also sponsored and exhibited fights in other parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and other states, according to the filings.

On Vick's Web site, he lists his birthplace as Newport News, "a.k.a. BadNews."

The documents said the fights usually occurred late at night or in the early morning and would last several hours.

Before fights, participating dogs of the same sex would be weighed and bathed, according to the filings. Opposing dogs would be washed to remove any poison or narcotic placed on the dog's coat that could affect the other dog's performance.

Sometimes, dogs weren't fed to "make it more hungry for the other dog."

Fights would end when one dog died or with the surrender of the losing dog, which was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method, according to the documents.

Vick initially said he had no idea the property might have been used in a criminal enterprise and blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity.

Vick has since declined to talk about the investigation.


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(CNN) -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick faces criminal charges and a possible prison sentence for allegedly participating in an enterprise that trained pit bulls for death matches in which spectators bet on the outcome, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Vick, 27, and three associates were indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, on a conspiracy count alleging they bought and sponsored dogs in an animal fighting venture and traveled across state lines to participate in illegal activity, including gambling.

According to the indictment, dogs that didn't show enough fighting spirit, or that lost matches, were put to death by a variety of methods, including shooting, drowning, hanging and electrocution. Prosecutors allege that on one occasion earlier this year, Vick participated in killing eight dogs.

A National Football League spokesman said the allegations against Vick would be reviewed under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"We are disappointed that Michael Vick has put himself in a position where a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against him," said spokesman Brian McCarthy. "We will continue to closely monitor developments in this case and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities."

If convicted of both portions of the conspiracy charge, Vick could face six years in prison and a $350,000 fine, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

No arrest warrants have been issued, and Vick and the other defendants -- Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Virginia -- have not been taken into custody, said Jim Rybicki, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg.

A judge is expected to inform Vick and the others of the charges against them Wednesday and make arrangements for them to turn themselves in, Rybicki said.

Vick, a standout at Virginia Tech who was the first player chosen in the 2001 NFL draft, is one of pro football's highest-profile and highest paid players. In 2004, he signed a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons.

The dogfighting investigation began in April, when authorities found 54 pit bulls on property Vick owns in Smithfield, Virginia, about 30 miles west of the Norfolk area where he grew up.

There was no immediate comment from Vick on the indictment. He had previously said that while he had a kennel operation on the property, he had no involvement in, or knowledge of, a dogfighting ring.

But the indictment issued Tuesday charges Vick was intimately involved in the operation, known as "Bad Newz Kennels," and that he bought the Smithfield property for $34,000 for the purpose of going into business with Peace, Phillips and Taylor.

Between 2001 and April 2007, Vick and his associates bought and trained pit bulls and hosted dogfights at the property, and dogs were also taken to locations in at least six other states to participate in fights, prosecutors said.

The owners of the winning dogs collected purses that ran into the thousands of dollars, and spectators also placed side bets on the outcome, prosecutors said. After one of the "Bad Newz" dogs lost a fight in March 2003, Vick personally paid $23,000 to the winning dog's owner, who is now a cooperating witness for the prosecution, the indictment said.

According to the indictment, an unidentified associate from Bad Newz Kennels admonished another participant at a dogfight who yelled out Vick's name during an event in the fall of 2003 -- a participant who is also now cooperating with prosecutors.

The indictment also alleges that Vick and his associates "rolled" some of their dogs -- testing them in short fights to determine how well they might fight. Dogs that failed the test were killed, prosecutors said.

While most of the dog killings noted in the indictment were allegedly carried out by the other defendants, Vick himself participated in the killings of eight dogs in April, according to the indictment. The animals were killed "by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground," the indictment said.


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I hope this doesn't get my head bit off....but Michael Vick being charged for dogfighting is important? Excuse me, isn't R. Kelly still out of jail? Didn't he have sex with a minor on tape?

Oy...our legal system.

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