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Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Artest faces four misdemeanors

NBA standout’s charges stem from dispute with his wife

March 22, 2007

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Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest faces four misdemeanor charges stemming from a dispute with his wife at home earlier this month.

The charges were filed late Tuesday. Placer County Deputy District Attorney Dan Quick said Artest would be arraigned today on charges of battery and corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. Each carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

Artest was arrested March 5 at his estate in Loomis, 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, and was released from custody after posting a $50,000 bond.

A Placer County sheriff's report said Artest grabbed a woman and pushed her down, then slapped her face during an argument. The report, which did not identify the victim because it was a domestic violence incident, said Artest took a phone from the woman the first time she tried to call 911.

When she reached 911, the woman at first complained that Artest was taking the family Hummer from the home, according to a recording of the call released by the sheriff's department. The woman then told a dispatcher that her finger was cut and her leg scratched, and that she broke the windshield of the vehicle.

Five days after his arrest, Artest said he'd stumbled as a father and husband and apologized to his wife and family, as well as to the Kings and his teammates. He sat out two games, but was not suspended and continued to receive his salary.

Artest's attorney, William Portanova, said Wednesday that he had not yet seen the charges.

"Ron's first priority remains his family, and the process will simply have to work itself through," he said.

Portanova declined to say whether Artest has had any contact with his family since the incident.

"The family continues to request privacy during these difficult times," he said.

Immediately after the arrest, the county sheriff's department obtained an emergency protective order that prevented Artest from returning to his home or contacting the woman until she could obtain a restraining order. Officials with the Placer County clerk's office and sheriff's department said Wednesday they had no record that she had sought or obtained such an order.

It was the latest in a string of incidents that have marred Artest's basketball career.

As a member of the Indiana Pacers, he was the central figure in the 2004 brawl with Detroit Pistons fans. He received a 73-game suspension.

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