Ray Rice Pleads Not Guilty to Aggravated Assault Charge

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2014

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Updates from Thursday, June 19

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun has the latest on Rice:

The Ravens are still awaiting word on the status of running back Ray Rice following his meeting this week with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

When asked if he was aware of when the league would issue a ruling on potential discipline for Rice, Ravens head coach Harbaugh replied: "Not to my knowledge. I'm not aware of any timetable on that at all."

Updates from Friday, May 23

Ray Rice issued a statement during a press conference Friday, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun and the Ravens' official Twitter account:

Rice's wife also spoke, according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post:

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the team expects Rice to miss at least three games:

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman echoes that sentiment:

Wilson also reported team president Dick Cass' statement:

Updates from Thursday, May 22

Rotoworld's Evan Silva has an update:

The Ravens also followed up via the team's website:

Running back Ray Rice will address the media Friday.

His press conference will take place at the Under Armour Performance Center at 3 p.m.

This will be Rice’s first public remarks since his February arrest on an assault charge against his then-fiancée and now-wife Janay Palmer. Rice has maintained his silence up to this point at the suggestion of his lawyers, who wanted the legal process to play out before Rice commented.

Rice and his wife will both be part of Friday’s press conference.

Updates from Tuesday, May 20

Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Sun reports that an agreement has been made between Ray Rice and prosecutors: 

Lynda Cohen of The Press of Atlantic City added:

The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office approved Rice's acceptance into pretrial intervention Monday. Superior Court Judge Michael Donio then signed off on it today.

Upon successful completion of the program — which will be a minimum of one year — the third-degree charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury would be dismissed. The arrest would remain on his record, but with no conviction.

Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun says there is only one thing left in this case:

And Aaron Wilson of the Sun confirms Rice will keep his freedom:

Fenton tweeted out a brief comment from Rice's attorney: 

Updates from Thursday, May 1

ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports Ray Rice's plea:

Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Sun provides a synopsis of the prosecutor discussing Rice:

Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com continued:

Fenton previously provided a statement from Rice before he entered the courthouse: 

ABC's Cheryl Conner confirmed Rice's wife, Janay Palmer, was present as well:

Updates from Monday, April 28

The Baltimore Sun reports Ray Rice's arraignment is set for Thursday.

Updates from Saturday, March 29

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rice married the woman on Friday he allegedly assaulted last month:

Original Text

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was formally indicted by a grand jury in Atlantic City, N.J. on one count of aggravated assault on Thursday, police have confirmed. The indictment stemmed from an alleged physical altercation with his fiancee at the Revel Casino Hotel on Feb. 15.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report that Rice had been officially booked, and noted that a conviction in the case carries up to a five-year prison sentence:

Rice, 27, and his fiancee were both arrested by the Atlantic City Police Department last month following the incident. Though details were initially scant, surveillance video released by TMZ shows Rice dragging a seemingly unconscious woman, presumably his fiancee, out of an elevator at the hotel. 

The criminal complaint against Rice claims he struck her with his hand, knocking her unconscious. Rice's fiancee, Janay Palmer, was also issued a summons for allegedly striking the former All-Pro running back. Palmer's charges have since been dismissed.

Rice was expected to be formally charged in the case last month, per ESPN.com's Jamison Henley, but the prosecutor's office elected to delay his hearing. Though he initially faced just a simple assault charge, Rice has now been handed down a third-degree aggravated charge, per SportsCenter on Twitter.

Ray Rice and his fiancee Janay Palmer.
Ray Rice and his fiancee Janay Palmer.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press/Associated Press

The aggravated charge is more severe and far more likely to land Rice behind bars, even if he's able to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. Rice's lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, said Rice won't be taken into custody due to the new charges and the next court date has yet to be set. 

Rice has stayed almost entirely silent since the initial incident. His Twitter feed has not been active since Feb. 12, and he has not directly addressed the media to deny the claims. Diamondstein told Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Sun that the video did indeed show Rice carrying Palmer, but it failed to tell the whole story.

Adam Caplan of ESPN also received a written statement from Diamondstein, which pinpoints Palmer as the aggressor in the altercation, via Sulia.com:

I have been advised by the prosecutors office that an indictment has been returned. The state has decided not to prosecute (Rice's fiancée) Ms. (Janay) Palmer. While we certainly aren't looking to pass the buck, it was Ms. Palmer who started the altercation, and the state chose to prosecute Mr. Rice only. And again, we deny that he committed an aggravated assault. We don't think the law would support that (he did). And we just ask the public to reserve judgement until all of the facts are out.

Rice, a second-round pick for the Ravens back in 2008, is the franchise's second all-time leading rusher but is coming off arguably his worst professional season. He rushed for just 660 yards and four touchdowns while averaging a career-low 3.1 yards per carry, due in part to a porous Baltimore offensive line. 

Steve Bisciotti
Steve BisciottiGAIL BURTON/Associated Press

Despite his struggles, the Ravens franchise has publicly backed Rice. Owner Steve Bisciotti came out in support of the star back, telling the media at this week's owners' meetings that Rice would "definitely" be back with the team in 2014.

"I've been on record of saying my definition of character is repeating offenses," Bisciotti told reporters. "If we're all one strike and you're out, then we're all in trouble." He also expressed compassion for both Rice and his fiancee.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also spoke on the situation but did not indicate whether Rice would be subject to a suspension under the league's personal-conduct policy:

No matter the ultimate result of the case, Rice could very well be back with Baltimore due to fiscal obligation. While he has an $8.75 million cap charge—a significant figure for a running back in today's NFL—the Ravens would have a $14.25 million cap acceleration should they choose to trade or release him, per Spotrac.

Either way, action won't be taken at the team or league level until Rice agrees to a plea deal or goes to trial. 

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