Ex-N.Y. pros­e­cu­tors say it is un­likely McGre­gor does time

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - GOLF - Josh Peter

Conor McGre­gor could face an up­graded felony charge of reck­less­ness that in­creases the chance of his serv­ing jail time and jeop­ar­dizes his abil­ity to fight in the USA. Or he could avoid any crim­i­nal charge with a good plea deal.

That was the range of pos­si­bil­i­ties pre­sented by three for­mer New York pros­e­cu­tors who are crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­neys and spoke to USA TO­DAY about the UFC star’s le­gal trou­ble.

Julie Ren­del­man, a for­mer prose­cu­tor in Brook­lyn, where McGre­gor was charged af­ter at­tack­ing a bus at a UFC me­dia event Thurs­day, noted that peo­ple suf­fered in­juries dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

“That’s the big­ger is­sue to me,” she said. “If he used a weapon to in­jure one of the peo­ple in the face, that po­ten­tially could be up­graded to a felony.”

McGre­gor, the mixed mar­tial arts fighter, faces two felony charges for crim­i­nal mis­chief and 10 mis­de­meanors. He could face up to 11 years in prison for the felonies, ac­cord­ing to New York sen­tenc­ing guide­lines, but all three for­mer pros­e­cu­tors said it’s un­likely McGre­gor will serve sig­nif­i­cant, if any, jail time.

“I can see him serv­ing time,” Ren­del­man said. “But peo­ple do crimes in Brook­lyn, in any ju­ris­dic­tion in New York or any­where, that are po­ten­tially worse than this and they get deals that al­low them to not go to jail.”

Two other for­mer New York pros­e­cu­tors said they think McGre­gor will strike a plea deal that re­duces the charges to a sin­gle mis­de­meanor and pos­si­bly re­sults in no con­vic­tion.

“But for his celebrity sta­tus, it’s just a run-of-the-mill case,” said Wil­liam Kephart, a for­mer Long Is­land prose­cu­tor. “Peo­ple get into ar­gu­ments and things get bro­ken, fists are fly­ing more times than not. … I would think given the fact that as­sault charges are mis­de­meanors and the most se­ri­ous charge is crim­i­nal mis­chief, it’s un­likely he would face jail time.”

Steven Raiser, an­other for­mer New York prose­cu­tor, said the charges are “gen­er­ally not too se­ri­ous.”

“The good news for McGre­gor is that the most se­ri­ous charge is the prop­erty dam­age charge,” he said by email. “With no prior crim­i­nal his­tory, this will be re­duced as part of a plea.”

The district at­tor­ney’s of­fice has six months to in­dict McGre­gor and present the case to a grand jury be­fore the case could po­ten­tially be dis­missed, Ren­del­man said. McGre­gor’s next sched­uled court date is June 14. Be­fore then, the for­mer pros­e­cu­tors say, McGre­gor’s at­tor­ney is ex­pected to ini­ti­ate talks with the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

A key fo­cus will be McGre­gor’s immigration sta­tus, be­cause any con­vic­tion could re­strict the fighter’s abil­ity to travel in the USA, said the for­mer pros­e­cu­tors, who noted McGre­gor’s de­fense at­tor­ney likely will be work­ing with an immigration at­tor­ney.

Ren­del­man said the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Brook­lyn gen­er­ally is sen­si­tive to immigration is­sues, but she also said, “Keep in mind, no one likes some­one com­ing to Brook­lyn and do­ing some­thing that kind of dam­ages the com­mu­nity. So that’s also some­thing they’re go­ing to take into con­sid­er­a­tion, be­cause there is some level of dis­re­spect for him do­ing what he did and (it was) dan­ger­ous on top of ev­ery­thing.”

Raiser said McGre­gor’s celebrity sta­tus could work in the fighter’s fa­vor.

“Be­cause he is a high-profile athlete, there is a lot of good he can do with the youth,” Raiser said. “If the DA is smart, they’ll work out a deal which will in­volve him giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.”

PER HALJESTAM/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Conor McGre­gor is un­likely to face jail time, for­mer New York pros­e­cu­tors said.

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