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NFL star Plaxico Burress was indicted by a grand jury today on weapons charges stemming from the former New York Giant wide receiver shooting himself in the thigh on November 29th in New York’s Latin Quarter nightclub. Plax could face a minimum of 3 1/2 years in convicted.

After testifying before a grand jury, the football player was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. Burress’ lawyer Benjamin Brafman was not surprised by the decision but stated, “When you have the mayor and the district attorney both publicly demanding a maximum prison sentence, it was perhaps too much to hope for the grand jury to conduct a sympathetic review of the unique facts of this sad case.”

Last November while at the club, Burress’ gun slipped from his waistband and down his leg, accidentally firing into his thigh. The pistol was not licensed in New York or New Jersey where the Super Bowl champion lived. His permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida had already expired in May 2008. Plaxico plead not guilty to weapons charges and is currently free on $100,000 bail.

Burress’ former teammate linebacker Antonio Pierce also spoke to the grand jury but wasn’t indicted although he was with Burress at the club that night. He was accused of taking the gun to his own home in Jersey after taking his teammate to the hospital and not to Burress’ house. The gun was later arranged to be taken to the wide receiver’s home.

Pierce’s lawyer, Michael Bachner, said, “By appearing before the grand jury for almost three hours and answering the grand jury’s very direct and very considered questions, it was clear to us that they understood that Mr. Pierce acted as any citizen under extraordinary circumstances would have acted.”

According to The Associated Press, the grand jury indictment comes after plea bargain negotiations broke down, apparently because Morgenthau was insisting that Burress serve at least two years in prison under any plea agreement.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Dwyer said it is standard policy to request a two-year sentence as part of a plea bargain on such serious charges.

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