One of Michael Vick’s co-defendants, Tony Taylor of Hampton, Virginia, pleaded guilty at the U.S. District Court in Richmond to one count of conspiring to traffic in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and sponsoring a dog in an animal-fighting venture. He is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 14.
Taylor said that he wasn’t promised any specific sentence in return for cooperating with authorities.
Last week, he pleaded not guilty in his case. In changing his plea to guilty, Taylor waived his right to appeal. He told the judge that he understands he is now a convicted felon.
A statement of facts filed today said that Vick supplied most of the money used to run the operation and gamble on the fights. Taylor and the two other men charged in the case typically split the winnings. Court papers said that Taylor left the operation after a disagreement with the others in 2004.
It is widely believed that Taylor’s plea, which had been expected, and his future cooperation could hurt Vick and help the government prove its case against the Atlanta Falcons’ star quarterback.
In his first public comment since the indictment, Vick called his legal predicament “a crazy situation” and said he hopes to return soon to the the gridiron, wearing a Falcons jersey.
But, he acknowledged in phone interview Monday with Atlanta radio station V-103, “There are a lot of things that needed to be worked out.”
“I’ve been (in Atlanta) for the last seven years of my life. I would love to come back,” Vick told radio personality Porsche Foxx. “But it remains to be seen.”
The president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP criticized the prosecution of Vick at a news conference Monday morning. Dr. R.L. White, Jr., accused the government of “piling on.”
“There’s a penalty in football for piling on,” White told reporters. “After a player has been tackled and somebody piles on, they’re penalized for unnecessary roughness. Today, the NAACP blows the whistle and warns the powers that be that you are piling on.”