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Giants take issue with Pierce prosecution

Wow, this is getting good.

In response to a sudden interest by Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau to throw the book at former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress and current Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, team owner John Mara has teed off on Morgenthau.

“We have refrained from making any
public statement regarding the legal proceedings against Plaxico Burress out of
respect for the process,” Mara said in a statement released by the team.  “Our organization, including Antonio Pierce, has
cooperated fully with the police and the DA’s office from the outset of their
respective investigations. 

“However, since the District Attorney’s office has
seen fit to publicly discuss the details of the potential case against Burress
and has suggested it will seek to charge Antonio, we feel it is necessary to
offer the following:  while we in no way condone Antonio’s decision to be in a
nightclub in Manhattan less than two days before a game, we cannot understand
the DA’s position that Antonio is subject to criminal charges.  When this
incident occurred, Antonio reacted out of concern for the health and well-being
of Plaxico Burress.  His first priority was to make sure Plaxico received proper
medical attention for what very well could have been a life-threatening wound.  
There was no criminal intent on the part of Antonio, who was thrust into this
predicament simply because he accompanied Plaxico that evening and because he
made the decision to immediately take Plaxico to the hospital.  We believe it is
unwarranted for the DA’s office to press criminal charges against Antonio under
these circumstances.”

And there’s that phrase again — “criminal intent.”  Burress lawyer Benjamin Brafman has been using those words whenever describing the case, and it likely will be the centerpiece of Pierce’s defense, too.

Here’s the reality, for a wide range of crimes, intent isn’t necessary — and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

They are “strict liability crimes,” which attach liability without regard to what the lawyers call “mens rea,” Latin for a “guilty mind.” 

Consequently, it doesn’t matter whether Burress or Pierce intended to possess a loaded and unlicensed gun in violation of New York law. 

And the most telling point in Mara’s statement is the indication that the team doesn’t condone Pierce’s decision to be in a nightclub two nights before a game.  If Pierce had decided to stay home that night and/or not to roll with a knucklehead who was carrying a loaded gun and/or not to pick the loaded gun up and remove it from the scene, Pierce wouldn’t be in this mess.

Indeed, if Pierce’s “first priority” was to make sure Plaxico received proper
medical attention,” there was no reason to assume possession of the gun. 

Anyone who “gets it” knows what Pierce was also trying to do — he was trying to protect Burress from any potential legal problems.  In doing so, Pierce unwittingly created a big one for himself.

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37 Responses to “Giants take issue with Pierce prosecution”
  1. SB42everyyear says: Jul 28, 2009 4:20 PM

    Ownership is one of the reasons why the Giants are among the classiest teams in the NFL.
    This case goes to jury and both Plax and Pierce will be get off. Two bumblers who never meant harm and simply made some very stupid mistakes. Now they are being used by politicians as backboards to make shots with the public. Excuse the basketball anology. I hate basketball.
    Anyone with a brain knows there are REAL criminals and then there are people who make mistakes. Neither of these two are real and they will rightfully walk.

  2. VoxVeritas says: Jul 28, 2009 4:20 PM

    ohhh baby the Giants are in full spin mode now huh?
    Turds.

  3. dldove77 says: Jul 28, 2009 4:22 PM

    I completely agree with the DA in this case for one reason: If it had been any average citizen in either of their shoes, this would be an open and shut case and they would be charged with the crime and most likely convicted. Just because their rich and famous, they aren’t above the law. They should be held to the same standards as the rest of us.

  4. Dewey Axewound says: Jul 28, 2009 4:26 PM

    Florio, is “mens rea” anything like your “menarche”–something I know you are familiar with?
    Seriously, anyone who isn’t a totally over-officious legalese-spouting toolbag KNOWS that Pierce’s actions were not malum in se, but merely malum prohibitum…
    Get a grip.
    (I know, I know…”that’s what she said”).

  5. Gallagher says: Jul 28, 2009 4:28 PM

    Look, I in no way condone unlicensed gun posession, and think it must be fought by the long arm of the law. I do think this Morgenthau is taking this a little far, even McCarthyish in the sense that he knows he has the public eye on this, and wants to take it as far as he can. I agree that Plax should be relating to jumping on a bicycle without a seat for the next 3-5, I dont think Pierce is a criminal, and should not be punished as one. If there is a smaller charge, such as negligence that may result in probabtion, etc, maybe, but to threaten to send a man to jail and ruin his career for what Pierce did, in my mind, is just plain overzealous.
    And I’m and Eagles fan, and could benefit from not having Pierce around this year.
    GO BIRDS

  6. Dewey Axewound says: Jul 28, 2009 4:31 PM

    So Pierce leaves the loaded gun laying on the nightclub floor, only to be sued for negligence or some sh1t after someone else ends up dead later that night?
    Not saying Pierce’s motives were as pure as the driven snow here, but…come on.
    For future reference, I’ll have to remember–if there’s ever a loaded gun laying around in a public place of business, immediately after someone’s had a near-fatal accident with it, I’ll be sure to let it lie.
    There’s the lesson in a nutshell:
    “Let loaded guns lie”

  7. Bill In DC says: Jul 28, 2009 4:33 PM

    LOL @ SB4
    Essentially the defense is “these are really nice boys who just made a mistake, we should not prosecute them because they mean well.”
    Someone carrying a loaded gun into a nightclub is not ‘just a nice boy’. He endangers everyone in the club, he’s very fortunate that he only managed to shoot himself.
    A person who conceals a weapon from the police at the scene of a crime is not a ‘nice boy’ either.
    If a normal, everyday person would be prosecuted for this crime (and I have no doubt that they would), then Plaxico & Pierce should also be prosecuted, and it appears they will.

  8. mattzach2 says: Jul 28, 2009 4:40 PM

    dldove77,
    Although I believe these guys should be held liable for their actions in the same way you and I should be. I am willing to bet, you and I assuming no previous criminal record, would never spend any time in jail for this same crime. Probation, fines and cummuinity service would be the only result. Do some research on similar crimes and convictions and you will see that these prosecutors are just playing politics.

  9. mikecal645 says: Jul 28, 2009 4:42 PM

    I am with you dldove77.
    superbowl42everyyear, what are you talking about? Never meant any harm? People that don’t mean any harm or aren’t looking to get in trouble don’t carry guns to clubs. If he really felt it necessary to carry a gun to protect himself at the club he shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The situation could have easily been much worse had the bullet hit someone else other than himself.

  10. Cramz32 says: Jul 28, 2009 4:48 PM

    Oh yes, if only Pierce had made sure the gun was left behind or had Plax toss it into the street for some kid to find… that would have been a better decision? C’mon this is silly.

  11. jedicurt says: Jul 28, 2009 4:49 PM

    @ dldove77
    I think i have to disagree with you completely for the exact same reasoning… if these were normal people, the person who would be in Pierce’s shoes would have been let go because he was only acting out of interest of someone’s safety… atleast that is the way it would be looked at in most places outside of New York…. I think because he is a famous football player is why the DA thinks he can make a name for himself by getting two high profile suspects out of one situtation

  12. onlymyopinionmatters says: Jul 28, 2009 4:52 PM

    The Giants organization needs to shut the F up and let the legal system run its course. The team is not above the law.

  13. Bill In DC says: Jul 28, 2009 4:55 PM

    Cramz,
    So why didn’t he make sure the gun was surrendered to the Police?

  14. SB42everyyear says: Jul 28, 2009 5:02 PM

    Yes, “our” defense is that neither are criminal types and they made a few stupid mistakes that didn’t hurt anyone cept Plax’s wheel.
    Every simpleton knows the need for strict laws. But every realist who isn’t into judging others understands there is a difference in degrees of criminal activity. That’s why we have trials and don’t just lock em away.
    So society punishes some less severe than they punish others based on past record, intent, damage and genuine remorse.
    Hey, that sounds fair!

  15. ham1 says: Jul 28, 2009 5:10 PM

    HA HA.
    Way to think it through Pierce.
    Dumb and dumber.

  16. east96st says: Jul 28, 2009 5:14 PM

    What is shocking about this is Pierce is the star witness. The case against Burress, while solid, does have holes in it if Pierce decides to clam up to protect his own ass.
    As for Vox, yeah, the Giants organization is SOOOO much worse than the Cowboys. When you look up scumbag in the dictionary there’s a picture of Jerry Jones. Clean up the mess in your own kitchen before you bitch about ours. If Plax walks, would anyone be even slighty surprised to see him in Dallas? Or will your crackhead former WR just bring in more reality show WRs for Jerry to hire?

  17. MaineMan says: Jul 28, 2009 5:16 PM

    Most reasonable people, in the heat of the moment with the priority being to get medical attention to a wounded person, could easily conclude that it’s better to pick the loaded weapon up off the floor (of a busy nightclub) and stick it one’s pocket than to leave it lying there. What if the no-name bouncer had done this instead of Pierce? Would the cops be saying, “Well, that was stupid and technically illegal, but understandable”? What if it had been just some uninvolved bystander instead of a famous athlete? What if the bouncer had been white or the bystander had been a conservatively dressed professional, like a doctor?
    The DA has plenty of incentive to avoid showing favoritism toward a pro athlete/celebrity, but it seems he might be going a bit overboard here.

  18. dEV says: Jul 28, 2009 5:28 PM

    Most reasonable people would call 911 and wait for an ambulance to arrive.

  19. Ralph Gre Nader says: Jul 28, 2009 5:30 PM

    That sounds a whole lot like a giant….”SUCK IT” directed right at the DA.
    This guy is gonna end up screwing this whole case up because or his giant ego and inner need to stretch his ridiculous 15 minutes of fame. This is why the US justice system kind of gets a bad wrap sometimes….instead of laying low and doing your job some prosecutors(and defense attorneys) feel the need to act like a raging lunatic.

  20. bloggersrstupid says: Jul 28, 2009 5:33 PM

    Every time you type that phrase about people who “get it” I want to vomit. Just because you and people of your ilk think one way doesn’t make it gospel. You are the one who doesn’t seem to “get it”.

  21. winkel33 says: Jul 28, 2009 5:44 PM

    Great point above – what should Pierce have done? left the gun on the ground? This DA is out of control. Any other person, and this is a plea agreement with likely no jail time for the person who fired the gun, and absolutely no chance of charges against the person in Pierce’s position.
    I think the DA has no real intent on going after Pierce – he is just trying to create some leverage against Plaxico. But he is simply playing games with this and trying to show how tough on crime he is.
    I know it is a different state – but in the Wash Post today is an article about a person pointing a gun at a police officer in Maryland. His made a deal to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, 100 days in jail. You are going to try to tell me that for accidentally shooting yourself, you deserve more time in jail than for pointing a gun at a cop?

  22. VoxVeritas says: Jul 28, 2009 5:51 PM

    “As for Vox, yeah, the Giants organization is SOOOO much worse than the Cowboys.”
    Why you gotta bring the Cowboys into the Giants’ deceitful web of idiocy? Deflection isn’t going to get Pierce off. My kitchen’s clean, dumbass. I keep it clean because I’m not a dumbass, unlike Pierce, Burress and their enablers. I called them turds, not you. Try to not take it so personal. I don’t think you’re a turd. I do think that you’re stupid.
    “The case against Burress, while solid, does have holes in it”
    So does his leg. And Mara’s head, if he believes that Pierce is undergoing scrutiny just for taking Cheddar Plax to the hospital.
    Speaking of the hospital, I wonder how much other stuff up in NY has been covered up?
    “if Pierce decides to clam up to protect his own ass.”
    What holes would those be, counselor? Wait, you’re just a TV cameraman, aren’t you?

  23. Bigbluefan says: Jul 28, 2009 6:13 PM

    Vox
    Even if the Giants all go to jail the cowgirls will still suck
    It starts with your low class owner and goes all the way to your Tom Brady wanta be QB
    Brady gets the hot VS model and Tony gets the trailer trash bimbo

  24. Zaggs says: Jul 28, 2009 6:16 PM

    “Indeed, if Pierce’s “first priority” was to make sure Plaxico received proper medical attention,” there was no reason to assume possession of the gun.”
    Pierce never did. By the DA’s own account Pierce stayed with Plax and someone else moved the gun.
    Hell I’m just waiting for Brafman to file in federal court against the city of New York for violation of Plax’s second and and 14 amendment rights. It not as if bloomeberg does not have a history of violating federal laws in his anti-gun crusade.

  25. Brewster says: Jul 28, 2009 7:05 PM

    Ralph Gre Nader says:
    July 28, 2009 5:30 PM
    That sounds a whole lot like a giant….”SUCK IT” directed right at the DA.
    This guy is gonna end up screwing this whole case up because or his giant ego and inner need to stretch his ridiculous 15 minutes of fame. This is why the US justice system kind of gets a bad wrap sometimes….instead of laying low and doing your job some prosecutors(and defense attorneys) feel the need to act like a raging lunatic
    _____________________________
    Ralphie, how about either thinking or doing a little research before you open your mouth.
    I don’t happen to agree with the DA, Robert Morganthau, on this one either, but to suggest it’s his 15 minutes of fame is to be totally ignorant of just who he is.
    The man has been DA in NYC for 34 years, before that he was the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York for about 12 years. He has prosecuted some of the highest profile cases in New York during that time, and all of them thrust him in the media spotlight.
    This case isn’t even a barnacle on a whale’s ass compared to some of the high profile cases he been involved with.
    Plus he’s politically and socially connected in New York society. He doesn’t need another 15 minutes of fame, he’s been famous his whole life.

  26. ncm42 says: Jul 28, 2009 7:16 PM

    The DA is being a major D-bag, trying this in the press. That said, Pierce is lucky he’s only being charged with possession, and not with evidence tampering, obstruction of justice, etc. If memory serves, didn’t he originally lie to police or something?

  27. VoxVeritas says: Jul 28, 2009 7:21 PM

    Bigbluefan, if anybody knows trailer trash, it’s Gnats fans.

  28. VoxVeritas says: Jul 28, 2009 7:25 PM

    Man, the Giants fans are really kooking out today.
    I’m starting to think that the average Eagirls fan is smarter than the average Gnats fan.
    You root for a team full of turds. Deal with it. Embrace it. You love turd!

  29. empty13 says: Jul 28, 2009 7:35 PM

    uh, taking the gun away from plaxico was a better idea than letting him keep it, for instance. after all, he just might have made more holes in the cheddar cheese.
    and the cowboys’ kitchen is clean? since when.
    lets not forget…
    6-44*
    ////////////////
    bloomy and morgenthau aint goin to do shit.

  30. mrmagoo says: Jul 28, 2009 7:38 PM

    Bigbluefan says:
    July 28, 2009 6:13 PM
    Vox
    Even if the Giants all go to jail the cowgirls will still suck
    It starts with your low class owner and goes all the way to your Tom Brady wanta be QB
    Brady gets the hot VS model and Tony gets the trailer trash bimbo
    ____________________________
    Don’t be so hard on Vox. No PFT article is complete until he rubs a little retard on it.

  31. VoxVeritas says: Jul 28, 2009 7:43 PM

    “Pierce never did. By the DA’s own account Pierce stayed with Plax and someone else moved the gun.”
    Lying on PFT isn’t going to get Pierce off. If they didn’t think that he ever took possession of the gun, why did they impound his SUV?

  32. ryanmc says: Jul 28, 2009 8:38 PM

    You wrote: “They are “strict liability crimes,” which attach liability without regard to what the lawyers call “mens rea,” Latin for a “guilty mind.” Consequently, it doesn’t matter whether Burress or Pierce intended to possess a loaded and unlicensed gun in violation of New York law. ”
    Well, it doesn’t matter to lawyers and judges, for whom people are just little playthings in their games that they play with each other in courtrooms. However, to a normal human being it may matter. Which is why we have the jury system, to make sure that people’s lives and careers aren’t just treated as a game.

  33. JayMan says: Jul 28, 2009 9:17 PM

    Man, what a crappy take on this florio. Pierce was plaxico’s friend and probably caught completely off guard.
    In what was likely less than 1 minute pierce had to act in the heat of the moment to a gun shot, his friend bleeding, in pain, probably panic throughout the club, bouncers responding in the BEST INTEREST of their jobs (get the victim and gun out of there). He got his friend to the hospital with the bouncers saying “take this” in regards to the gun etc. He got his friend to the hospital with the gun safely in glove box. How was he to know it wasn’t registered of all things?
    Tell me how you would have reacted had it been your friend and colleague. I have no problem with plax getting charged but what did Pierce do that any one wouldn’t do for a friend (or even a stranger). He returned the gun asap and co-operated with the investigation.
    What should have happened? No way in hell the bouncers let that gun stay in the club. All these decisions were made while taking someone who could have been bleeding to death to the hospital.
    Give me an f’break. All these people on their soap boxes. Pierce was in no way trained to handle this type of situation nor did he do anything to put himself into it.
    Guess he should have thrown the gun on the street so some gang banger could have gotten his hands on it.

  34. smiley says: Jul 28, 2009 10:45 PM

    Umm…he should have reported to the police. Hello? Instead, he tried to hide the gun. Duh. He also crossed state lines with an unregistered weapon…loaded…well…minus one bullet.

  35. n0hopeleft says: Jul 29, 2009 9:14 AM

    Vox – you might just be the most retarded idiot out of everyone. No one knows trash better than the Giants? This coming from a guy whos team is less than 2 years removed from enabling a publicly known criminal, who GUNNED DOWN a strip club bouncer (after he was kicked out for disrespecting women) to walk back out onto an NFL field. That bouncer will never walk again – and your team gave the TRUE criminal a second chance to be a millionaire.
    Dont talk about trash – your organization is run by trash. You have the hole in your head.
    You also have a hole on the left side of your playoff record in this CENTURY.
    WIN A PLAYOFF GAME COWBOYS FANS – OTHERWISE SHUT THE F*** UP!

  36. glenneats says: Jul 29, 2009 11:24 AM

    Nohopeleft could not have put it any better. Vox, after reading this thread and hearing what you have to say, I simply feel bad for you. God it must suck being a Cowboys fan…
    GO GMEN

  37. smilergrogan says: Jul 29, 2009 3:42 PM

    yo b.s. stupid: anyone who thinks that Pierce toted the piece out of state for any other reason than to protect Plexiglas legally truly doesn’t get it. No apostrophes needed. And if that makes you vomit, you go ahead.
    Burress and Pierce failed to report the shooting and tried to have the doctor report the wound under some other name. If Burress wasn’t a pro football player it may have worked, but in addition to the likelihood of being recognized, having to show up the next day and report to the trainer would have then put the Giants in an untenable position.
    vox: for anyone to impugn the mara family and the giants organization from a citizenship perspective is ridiculous, and for that person to be a dallas fan is more laughable. but since anyone who has read this board more than a week already knows, you can be counted on to be this village’s idiot.
    the cowboys have always been directed by a mix of bible thumpers and used car salesmen. bright and murchison were marketeers but mara was always about the football. if mara had operated his franchise like the cowboys, redskins and a few others today, there would be no nfl. he could have ruled the roost by refusing to share his revenues. but he and halas and a few others saw the future, and then created it. bright and murchison arrived and hitched their wagon to the train created by mara, etc.

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