A state district judge in Houston yesterday rejected Ricky Sanders' bid to postpone his trial on aggravated assault charges until after the football season.
The date for the trial will be set today by Judge Donald Shipley, but Wendell Odom, Sanders' attorney, said it is likely to begin Dec. 10.
That's the Monday after the Washington Redskins play a home game against the Chicago Bears and before a Saturday, Dec. 15 game at Foxboro, Mass., against the New England Patriots.
The Redskins usually have their main practices before a Saturday game on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Since Odom said the trial is likely to last about three days, Sanders is likely to miss most of the practice time, but could be in uniform for the game.
New England has a 1-6 record, so the Redskins should be able to win without Sanders.
"If he's got to miss a couple of days, that's a good week to do it," Odom said.
Odom, though, called Shipley's decision not to postpone the trial after after the season "a bit of a shocker."
Since Shipley will be on the ballot next week, he may have been reluctant to grant any favors to a professional athlete.
"Mr. Sanders doesn't want to have this bearing on his mind as he heads for the Super Bowl," the judge said with a grin from the bench.
The only concession the judge gave Sanders was to allow Odom and the prosecutors to agree on a date, and Odom said he'd recommend Dec. 10.
The judge also denied three motions to quash the indictment, but he did agree to strike the word "death" from the "causing injury and death" wording of the indictment.
There were no deaths in the incident, which occurred May 1 in the parking lot of a Houston topless nightclub after an argument over missing hubcaps on his car. Sanders is accused of running over a valet parking attendant and failure to stop and help him.
Sanders has pleaded innocent to the charges. Odom has said Sanders didn't know he hit anyone when he left the lot.
The attendant, Sam Jamus, contends he required six days of hospital treatment for his injuries and is suing Sanders in a civil suit.
If Sanders is found guilty, he faces a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 on the aggravated assault charge and up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine on the charge of failing to stop and render aid.