By John E. Carey
July 26, 2007
The Atlanta Falcons opened their football camp today, but Michael Vick was at a courthouse in Richmond, Va.
Vick arrived amid boos and pleaded not guilty during a reportedly uneventful and “not memorable” few minute hearing.
The trial in the “Vick-Dog” and friends dogfighting and conspiracy case; with federal crimes allegedly commited across state lines, a violation of the “Travel Act,” is set to begin Nov. 26.
Vick is charged along with three of his friends.
The other three men charged, according to the federal prosecutor’s indictment documents, are Purnell A. Peace, also known as “P-Funk” and “Funk,” Quanis L. Phillips, also known as “Q,” Tony Taylor, also known as “T.”
The documents list the nickname of “Ookie”for Mr. Vick.
The four either face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted on the Travel Act violation, a felony, or one year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines if convicted on the charge of using a dog in a fighting venture.
Today Mr. Vick was released without bond.
According to football people we reached, “this probably means Michael is out for this season. He’s running an ‘out pattern’ and he’s fighting for his name and his freedom now.”
Vick was jeered by a crowd as he went into court. He and three others entered their pleas in U.S. District Court to conspiracy charges involving competitive dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting the enterprise across state lines.
Mr. Vick’s lawyer, Billy Martin, read the following statement in behalf of his client:
“I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name. I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown. Above all, I would like to say to my mom I’m sorry for what she has had to go through in this most trying of times. It has caused pain to my family and I apologize to my family.”
What is the “Travel Act”?
The Travel Act was passed in the early 1960’s while Robert Kennedy was Attorney General. The Act was in response to organized crime activity and Kennedy’s efforts to end it. The Act was intended to assist state and local authorities with limited resources in their efforts to combat organized crime. The Act provides that any individual who travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any facility in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to:
- Distribute the proceeds of any unlawful activity.
- Commit a violent crime to further criminal activity.
- Promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on of any criminal activity.
may be guilty of violating the Travel Act.
Unlawful activity includes:
- Illegal gambling.
- Illegal liquor offenses.
- Controlled substances.
- Tax evasion.
The Act is violated by movement in or use of interstate commerce with the intent of committing, furthering, or distributing proceeds of the above-listed series offenses.
The G. Green Law Practice, PLLC