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Whenever a crime is allegedly committed there are often bad subject-verb combinations when the charges are filed. Possessed and child porn would probably be the worst possible combination of verbs and subjects for a crime that doesn’t end with life imprisonment. But “kicked a marine in the head,” is a pretty bad runner up, a crime that you don’t want to be charged with and a crime that you certainly don’t want to go in front of a jury accused of committing. Welcome to LSU’s 2011 season, where suddenly Jordan Jefferson’s redemptive career arc has run off the rails. Based on a single night the primary question about Jefferson has moved from: can Jefferson become 2011’s Jason Campbell to will he be able to play this season?
In the wake of a bar brawl early on Friday morning, Jefferson and three other LSU players have retained noted criminal defense attorney, Nathan Fisher, and are now scheduled to speak with police on Tuesday.
“Several people who claim to have witnessed the incident tell 9NEWS that around 2 a.m. Friday, a young man driving a truck blew his horn to get a group of people blocking the driveway to move out of the way at Shady’s Bar on East Boyd Ave. That’s when they say a group of people pulled the driver out of the truck and began beating him. That’s when they say a Marine who had just returned from training ran to assist the driver and was beaten and thrown to the ground. Multiple people who claim to have witnessed the incident tell 9NEWS LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson then kicked the Marine in the head.”
Fisher, who has previously represented LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, is representing Jefferson and three other LSU players — Jarvis Landry, Chris Davenport and Josh John — involved in the brawl.
It’s far from the most serious case that Fisher, a renowned defense attorney in the state, has undertaken. Remember the police shootings on Danziger Bridge a few days after Katrina that ultimately led to five officers being convicted? Fisher helped to uncover the New Orleans police’s lies in that case.
As criminal defense attorney’s go, you probably can’t do much better. And just because the four players have retained a high-powered criminal defense attorney doesn’t mean that anything necessarily happened. But it does mean that all four men have some fear about what might come in the next few days. According to Baton Rouge police spokesperson Don Stone at least one player, presumed to be Jefferson based on media reports, would likely be charged with second-degree battery, a felony offense that upon conviction can carry up to a five-year prison sentence.
Of course police spokespersons aren’t always reliable in matters such as these. Recall that last July the University of Tennessee’s football team had a similar brawl at an off-campus bar that led to an off-duty police officer being hospitalized with severe head injuries. Conflicting stories and uncertainty about what caused the brawl ultimately led to the dismissal of one football player, but no serious charges being filed. In that case multiple UT players retained an attorney and according to the Knoxville police spokesperson charges were expected to be filed. But those charges never materialized.
Could something similar transpire at LSU? Especially with one of the state’s best criminal defense attorneys on the case?
In the meantime, if the worst happened and LSU lost Jefferson for the entirety of the season, what would the impact be? According to Todd Fuhrman, senior race and sports analyst at Las Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace, this is just the latest controversy leading up to the Oregon-LSU game, one of the most highly anticipated kickoff games in years.
“We pulled the number off the board as soon as the story broke about Darron Thomas riding in the car with Cliff Harris,” Fuhrman said, “I was literally about an hour away from putting it back up when this story broke.”
As the details surrounding this story have continued to darken, Fuhrman said the casino took the additional step of pulling betting on the season win totals for LSU, which had previously been set at 9.5, off the board. “About an hour and a half ago, we pulled the season win total off the board until more information comes to light,” Fuhrman said.
While LSU fans may believe that Jefferson’s quarterbacking ability is mediocre at best, it’s likely that if Jefferson was lost for the season or faced a substantial suspension that LSU’s odds of contending for a national title, SEC title, and of winning double-digit games would tumble.
“He’s not a great quarterback,” said Fuhrman, “but he’s incredibly important for their team.”