Raymond Felton avoids jail time

ByMike Mazzeo ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NEW YORK -- Knicks point guard Raymond Felton will avoid jail time and be able to continue his basketball career without interruption after reaching a plea agreement on two felony gun charges in court Monday morning.

As part of the agreement, Felton will have to plead guilty to at least one of the felony gun charges -- criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree or criminal possession of a firearm -- complete 500 hours of community service, pay a $5,000 fine, register as a gun offender and waive his right as a defendant to appeal the case.

Felton, who wore a black suit and sported rimmed glasses, did not speak at his hearing Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court. He would not take questions from reporters but did issue a statement aloud outside the courtroom.

"I just want to say that I want to thank the DA for being fair to me in this whole situation," Felton said. "I want to thank all my friends, my family especially, my fans, everybody just for supporting me and understanding the person I am."

Felton turned himself in and was arrested on the morning of Feb. 25 following his team's loss to the Dallas Mavericks after his wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, alleged that Felton threatened her with a firearm. Court records show that Raymondo-Felton filed for divorce from Felton a week earlier.

According to a criminal complaint provided by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Felton was in possession of an FN model 5.7x28 millimeter semiautomatic pistol loaded with approximately 18 rounds of live ammunition. Raymondo-Felton went to a Manhattan police precinct and turned over the gun prior to the Knicks-Mavericks game.

If convicted on the two felony gun charges, Felton could have faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. The NBA is expected to review Felton's case and may issue a fine or suspension.

"We want to thank the DA's office for focusing on the facts and only the facts. It's very clear that there was no proof, that there was never any proof that he ever used, threatened or pointed this gun at anyone," Felton's attorney, Jim Walden, said. "He never did that. It was a bold-faced lie. We're grateful that the DA's office saw through that and is going to allow him to continue his basketball career without interruption."

Felton, 29, has two years remaining on the four-year, $15 million contract with a player option he signed with the Knicks.

League sources have told ESPNNewYork.com that Knicks president Phil Jackson will look to trade Felton in the offseason, but that could prove difficult. Felton averaged a career-low 9.7 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting in 2013-14. He missed 17 games due to injury.

There will be a hearing for Felton next Monday, but he will not have to appear.

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