The Washington Post is reporting that Gilbert Arenas has been charged with carrying a pistol without a license outside home or business, a felony.
From CBS Sports
Ever since he first acknowledged keeping guns in his locker, NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas has publicly employed the “goof ball” defense, claiming he wasn’t aware of the law, meant no harm and never takes anything seriously.
The NBA and the Washington Wizards had a far more serious response. Now it’s time to see how it plays before a judge.
Arenas is scheduled to appear in court Friday to answer a felony charge of carrying a pistol without a license, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charge was filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court in an “information,” a document that indicates Arenas has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.
The three-time All-Star has acknowledged storing four unloaded guns in his locker at the Verizon Center, saying he wanted to keep them away from his young children and didn’t know it was a violation of the city’s strict gun laws. He says he took them out of the locker Dec. 21 in a “misguided effort to play a joke” on a teammate.
The charge was made hours after the teammate, Javaris Crittenton, had his northern Virginia apartment searched by police looking for a silver- or chrome-colored semiautomatic handgun with a black handle. The search warrant indicated police were investigating crimes that include brandishing a weapon. No evidence was seized, according to court documents, and Crittenton has not been charged.
Arenas and Crittenton started bickering over gambling losses during a card game on the team plane as the Washington Wizards flew home from a West Coast road trip on Dec. 19. Their dispute became heated when the team reconvened for practice two days later, when Arenas took the guns from his locker. There have been conflicting published accounts as to whether Crittenton also had a gun and whether he drew it on Arenas.
Arenas’ lawyer, Crittenton’s lawyer and the NBA had no comment on the criminal charge. Crittenton has previously said he did nothing wrong, and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said his client was there during the apartment search.
“It went as smooth as it could have gone,” Bartelstein said.
Even if Arenas avoids a jail sentence, the outcome of the legal process will have important implications on his future in the NBA and specifically with the Wizards. Possession of a gun at an NBA arena is a violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, and last week commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of the investigation, a move supported by the Wizards.