Irvin is indicted on drug charges Cowboys receiver will plead not guilty

April 02, 1996|By DALLAS MORNING NEWS

DALLAS -- Michael Irvin should stand trial on two drug possession charges from a March 4 bust at an Irving hotel, a grand jury decided yesterday.

The Dallas Cowboys star had no comment as he left the Lew Sterrett Justice Center after posting $5,500 bond. His attorney, Kevin Clancy, said the 31-year-old All-Pro wide receiver would fight the charges.

"He'll plead not guilty," Clancy said.

The most serious indictment against Irvin is for cocaine possession, a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. But because he has no prior felony record, he also would be eligible for probation if convicted. The misdemeanor marijuana possession charge carries a sentence of up to 180 days in jail.

In his first public comment, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the indictment the end of "a difficult week for the Dallas Cowboys organization."

"We want to express our deep concern for the entire Irvin family," Jones said in a statement. "This is a matter that is in the hands of the authorities, and we hope that it will be resolved as quickly and constructively as possible."

The NFL is aware of the grand jury's action "and will closely monitor the case," officials said in a statement.

Indicted on the same charges were Angela Renee Beck and Jasmine Jennifer Nabwangu, the two women who were at the Residence Inn by Marriott with Irvin and former Cowboys tight end Alfredo Roberts at the time of the bust. Roberts was not indicted.

Beck, 22, was the only person arrested early that morning. She told police officers that all of the drugs and drug paraphernalia belonged to her. Irvin, Roberts and Nabwangu were called to testify before the grand jury as witnesses.

Last week, Clancy complained that his client was being "selectively prosecuted" and that the district attorney's office was misusing the grand jury system.

Prosecutors have denied that and said yesterday that Irvin's celebrity would not affect the way they treat the case.

"It doesn't matter who he is," First Assistant District Attorney Norman Kinne said. "The case will be handled like any other case of this nature."

Kinne declined to comment further, citing a judge's gag order.

According to Dallas County records, Irvin's and Beck's cases have been assigned to state District Judge Manny Alvarez, who was out of town Monday and unavailable for comment. Nabwangu's case was sent to state District Judge John Nelms, records show.

Beck was arrested after a night manager called 911 to complain about a noisy party that he suspected involved drugs and prostitutes. Police reported finding about three ounces of marijuana, two ounces of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Beck and Nabwangu told police they were self-employed models. Neither has a criminal record in Dallas County.

Roberts' attorneys sought to quell speculation that he had testified against Irvin in exchange for immunity. "I can just assure you that he did not roll over on his friend," attorney Don Tittle said.

The felony indictment accuses Irvin of possessing more than four grams of cocaine. First-time offenders convicted in such cases are frequently placed on probation, said Peter Lesser, a Dallas defense lawyer.

The indictment is already beginning to affect some of Irvin's business interests. Kroger Food Stores, one sponsor of his Cowboys-related television show, said yesterday that it would not be a sponsor next season.

Pub Date: 4/02/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.