A surprising number of New York lawyers reside in this corner of cyberspace (business apparently is slow, what with the whole implosion of Wall Street), and several have been sharing with us information regarding the Plaxico Burress situation that we generally haven’t had the time to investigate or share.
But here’s one that we haven’t seen in media reports, and that has a major bearing on the status of Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce.
As it turns out, if Pierce testifies before a grand jury in connection with the Plaxico Burress case, Pierce automatically receives immunity.
According to Section 190.40 of the New York Criminal Procedure, “Every witness in a grand jury proceeding must give any evidence legally requested of him regardless of any protest or belief on his part that it may tend to incriminate him. . . .  A witness who gives evidence in a grand jury proceeding receives immunity . . . .”
There are exceptions, of course.  For example, if Pierce were to spontaneously blurt out “I killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman,” Pierce wouldn’t be immune from prosecution.  But none of the exceptions would seem to apply here.
So, bottom line, if this law applies to Pierce’s predicament, prosecutors don’t have to worry about whether doing a deal with Pierce would expose him to aggressive cross-examination from Plaxico’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who would pounce on the possibility that Pierce was puffing about Plax in order to preserve his own patooty.  If this law applies here, prosecutors can’t do a deal with Pierce, because they subsequently can’t charge him with anything.
Unless Pierce blurts out, “I killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.”
We’re not announcing, reporting, or proclaiming that the law in question applies, primarily because, if it does, there wouldn’t be a sense of ambiguity in the media accounts and quotes from those involved that Pierce could still be prosecuted if he testifies before the grand jury.
If the law in question applies, Pierce secures for himself a pass if he testifies before the grand jury.
That day could be coming.  Pierce will meet today with investigators, according to the Associated Press.  And his lawyer has made it clear that, if subpoenaed, Pierce will testify.
“Antonio has always taken a position that he will be cooperative in the investigation with law enforcement,” Michael Bachner said, per the Associated Press.  “Should Antonio be subpoenaed to the grand jury, and we have no idea that is going to happen, but if he is, he is going to abide by his obligations as a citizen.”


  1. Florio – WHY the fixation on Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman? Good article when you take that lame sentence out that you used not once buy twice.

  2. Its very likely that it will apply because this falls under tge right of “freedom from self incrimination” so it looks like pierce is gonna b safe by putting plax behind bars

  3. What I’m wondering though, is that even if Pierce gets immunity for his testimony, if he admits he took and stashed the gun and eventually gave it to Burress’s wife, would he still be suspended by the NFL for violating the player conduct policies. Let’s face it, though he wouldn’t be charged, he still would have admitted to obstruction of justice.

  4. Mike, I wonder though if even though pierce testifies in front of the grand jury and is granted immunity, he would still be subject to possible discipline/suspension for violating the player conduct policies correct. If he admits he commited obstruction of justice, even if it was under stressfull circumstances, he still may have violated league rules correct?

  5. Here’s a question; How’s does testifying in a NYC grand jury affect things in NJ? Can NJ use his testimony to say he had posession of the gun illegally in NJ?

  6. I come here to get away from all of the problems of the real world. Do you constantly have to bring up the economy? Give it a rest. Being informed is one thing. Being inundated goes beyond the pail. Enough already. This used to be a cite where I could go to escape the real world. Evidently that has changed.

  7. Dear Mike Florio,
    If it wasn’t Pierce who did it, rest assured that I will STILL be looking for the real killer.
    Orenthal James Simpson

  8. Pierce won’t get immunity from the NFL though. His criminal behavior in this matter should lead to suspension.

  9. I would think NYPD would focus on weather Pierce knew
    the gun was registered or if Plaxico had told him the
    registration status of the gun. Well Giant fans such as
    myself are hoping that the two have had enough time to
    get their stories straight to limit legal liability.
    The moral of this situation; never talk to the police
    before you have a chance to communicate with a lawyer.

  10. Where are the cries about Pierce being a snitch which were so prevalent on this board with Nick Kazcur. Pierce is ratting out his buddy to save his arse while Kazcur set up a random drug dealer.

  11. promichael says:
    The moral of this situation; never talk to the police
    before you have a chance to communicate with a lawyer.
    Um, how ’bout don’t shoot yourself in the thigh with a gun you’re not supposed to have in a public place.

  12. Where is New Jersey in all of this? If it is legal to own an unregistered gun, I’m going to get one. I live in New Jersey anf if it’s not a crime, why not.

  13. I don’t think that this is completely accurate. There are two types of immunity – a) use immunity and b) transactional immunity.
    Use immunity confers immunity upon someone who is testifying and covers the testimony. The prosecution cannot use the testimony later to prosecute the witness, nor can the prosecution use evidence that was derived from the testimony. However, the prosecution can develop evidence independent of the testimony and prosecute on tht basis.
    Transactional immunity confers total immunity upon an individual in exchange for their testimony. Transactional immunity is far broader and completely prevents the prosecution for prosecuting an individual with regard to the entire transaction, regardless of the source of evidence.
    I don’t have time to do the legal research, but I strongly suspect that the immunity discussed here is use immunity and would not provide the complete protection that Florio believes it will.

  14. “Um, how ’bout don’t shoot yourself in the thigh with a gun you’re not supposed to have in a public place.”
    PSST… Giants fan.

  15. Snitch, c’mon be serious. If Plaxico really didn’t tell Pierce he had a gun he has every right to tell the police everything he knows. If Plaxico really cared about Pierce he would have told him he had a gun. Why should Pierce go to jail, just cause he decided to go out to a club one night. Not everyone who cuts a deal with the police is a snitch.
    If Plax had half a brain he would have had a permit for his gun. At the very least he should have had a holster, since as I understand it Glocs don’t have safeties. Are you telling me that Plax can’t get a personal assistant to handle all his permit and parking ticket issues.

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