By Associated Press
NEW YORK(RushPRnews)12/01/08 — Plaxico Burress was led out of a police precinct in handcuffs Monday after surrendering on a weapons possession charge, and authorities said that teammate Antonio Pierce is being investigated over his role in an accidental shooting at a Manhattan nightclub.
Burress was silent but held his head high as he was led out of the police station, where a crowd that included Giants fans hovered nearby with cell phone cameras. Burress planned to plead not guilty to the charge during a Monday afternoon court appearance, said his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.
The New York Giants star wide receiver accidentally shot himself at a nightclub Friday night and was treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He was released Saturday.
The episode set off a frenzy that showed no signs of letting up Monday: Police said the case could expand beyond Burress, with authorities investigating Pierce and whether the hospital failed to report the shooting.
The NFL is closely monitoring the developments as well.
A more detailed timeline of the evening also emerged. Police said Pierce, Burress and running back Derrick Ward arrived at the club with two other people around 11:30 p.m. ET Friday.
Burress had been allowed to bypass security, even though they knew he was armed, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The club is said to be fully cooperating in the investigation.
Around 12:05 a.m., as Burress was being escorted to a VIP area with a drink in one hand, he somehow ended up fumbling his gun and it discharged, hitting his thigh. Pierce was with him when that occurred, police said.
It’s believed Pierce helped retrieve the gun and take Burress to the car, and then left with him, police said.
It’s unclear what occurred during the two hours that followed.
Burress showed up at the hospital around 2:20 a.m. and was discharged at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The gun was eventually recovered at Burress’ house in New Jersey, authorities said.
Brafman refused to respond to media reports about an alleged coverup, other than to say: “I think a lot of what’s been in the press is not accurate.”
Burress arrived at a police station early Monday in a black Cadillac Escalade wearing jeans and a black coat. Burress, who was not visibly limping, did not speak to the media.
“He is standing tall. He is a mature adult,” said Brafman, a well-known defense lawyer who represented hip-hop impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs on a bribery and gun possession charge in 2001. “I think any professional athlete in this situation would be concerned.”
He said Burress is feeling OK. “If they let him play, he will be able to play. … I think he will be a superstar for the rest of his career.”
“My hope is that it plays out well and he can continue his career, because he’s a good person I think, with a brilliant athletic career. And it would be a terrible sadness if an isolated incident could ruin a life,” said Brafman.
The case also drew the wrath of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has waged a long fight against illegal guns during his time in office. He called for a full prosecution of state law that requires mandatory prison for carrying a loaded handgun.
“I don’t think anybody should be exempt from that, and I think it would be an outrage if we didn’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, particularly people who live in the public domain, make their living because of their visibility — they’re the role models for our kids,” Bloomberg said.
Giants reach out
The Giants have reached out to Plaxico Burress, but have not had any contact with the embattled receiver who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an accidental shooting, reports Steve Wyche. More … He also lashed out at the hospital, based on the allegation that officials may not have properly reported the shooting.
“It’s just an outrage that the hospital didn’t do what they were legally required to do. It’s a misdemeanor, it’s a chargeable offense, and I think the district attorney should certainly go after the management of this hospital. The lame excuse that they didn’t know — this is a world class hospital,” he said.
Pierce deflected several questions after Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. He wouldn’t say whether he has a lawyer and when asked if he is concerned about his own situation, Pierce replied: “No. I’m fine where I’m at.
“I am not answering any questions about the incident that happened Friday night. If you have anything to say about the Washington Redskins, this game and moving forward, I’ll answer it. Anything else, I’m not answering.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he spoke to his players about Burress’ situation but wouldn’t get into specifics.
“We all are upset about what happened with Plaxico, and hopefully he’s going to be fine and so on and so forth. That’s our first concern,” Coughlin said.
Reese and Giants president and CEO John Mara said they hadn’t spoken to Burress, who hurt his hamstring two weeks ago. “I reached out to him,” Reese said. “I did not get a return phone call.”
Mara repeatedly said the Giants would cooperate with the police and the NFL in their investigations.
“This is a law enforcement matter and we are continuing to cooperate fully with the police,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. “In addition, it will be reviewed under our league policies.”
Playing without Plax
Playing without Plaxico Burress, Eli Manning had his first 300-yard game of the season, and the Giants jumped out to an early lead to defeat the Redskins 23-7 on the road.
Watch highlights … Burress caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots in February, following a regular season in which he scored a career-high 12 TDs. He was rewarded with a $35 million, five-year contract.
Burress has 35 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns while constantly drawing double coverage this season.
Off the field, he was suspended for a game against Seattle in October and fined $117,500 for missing a team meeting and failing to notify the Giants of his absence. He said he had a family emergency.
Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said he spoke to Burress on the phone after the game.
“I called him and made a few jokes about the situation and his laugh is what I wanted to hear,” Jacobs said, according to Newsday. “If he didn’t laugh I knew he was going to be down, which he shouldn’t be down. It’s a mistake that happened, something that shouldn’t have happened and that’s that.”