"He's still upset," Irwin said. "He's been friendly with Ray. He thinks Ray is a terrific guy. He has nothing against Ray Lewis. He is upset this happened."
Yesterday's news conference was the first time that Lewis' defense team has talked at length about the case. Garland was joined by Lewis' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, and Baltimore lawyer Ronald M. Cherry.
Garland is a native Atlantan and well-known in Georgia for representing clients in several high-profile cases, including a 15-year-old boy who shot six classmates at his Georgia high school last May.
The lawyers would not detail Lewis' whereabouts before he entered the Cobalt Lounge or events inside the club, which was holding a star-studded affair with a $100 cover charge. A woman has told an Atlanta television station that a scuffle prompted bouncers to close the upstairs VIP section. The owners say no fight broke out.
Garland said Lewis left the bar in a happy, upbeat mood and was walking down the street toward his limo when the "sudden confrontation" occurred, apparently involving the victims and people who were trailing Lewis.
It remains unclear what prompted the dispute or how the groups -- one led by a wealthy pro football player, the other including a budding artist and a hairstylist out foor an evening of fun -- collided in such a violent way.
Garland said Lewis learned of the deaths of the two men later that morning from news reports. He would not say whether Lewis realizes now that the alleged killer or killers might have been in the limousine with him as the vehicle sped away.
Garland said whatever altercation took place -- including somebody getting hit over the head with a champagne bottle -- did not involve Lewis. He said there were eight people clustered around Lewis as he walked down the street. Garland described some of them as hangers-on and others as Lewis' friends.
It also is unclear whether Lewis was inside the limo when the stabbing occurred. Garland said the player remembers being whisked away from the scene as several shots rang out and slammed into the side of the limo.
The limousine, with several people including Lewis inside, sped down the street and parked at a Holiday Inn to fix a tire flattened by a bullet. The group scattered from there -- one person apparently disappearing into a hotel bathroom with a bloody shirt and Lewis hopping into a cab back to his hotel, the historic Georgian Terrace.
Learning that police wanted to question him, Lewis called authorities, who picked him up at a friend's house in an Atlanta suburb, the lawyer said.
Lewis wanted to talk right away because he planned to fly to Hawaii to participate in Sunday's Pro Bowl, a postseason showcase of the NFL's best talent. Garland said police surprised Lewis by placing him under arrest.
The lawyer said he believes police got nervous because Lewis was poised to leave the state and rushed to charge him without much evidence.
"Though, according to reports, Mr. Lewis was at the scene of the homicide, no witness has alleged that he personally was involved in the actual homicide, encouraged its commission or conspired with others to have the crime committed," his motion for bond states.
Under Georgia law, Lewis can be held accountable for the deaths even if he did not commit the stabbings, if the state can prove he participated in a fight or in any other way that led to the incident.
A team of private investigators working on Lewis' behalf are trying to piece together what happened in the bar and on the street Sunday night and early Monday. Garland promised a full and detailed accounting when his investigation is complete.
A spokesman for the district attorney's office did not return calls yesterday.
Garland acknowledged that it is unusual for a murder suspect to be released on bail pending trial, but he said the lack of evidence, coupled with Lewis' high-profile stature, makes such an exception possible.
In Lewis' request for a bail hearing, his lawyers portrayed him as a family man. They said he supports the two children of his fiancee, Tatyana McCall, and lives with them in Florida. They also said he has supported and raised three teen-age siblings, and noted that his mother moved to the Baltimore area to be near him.
In Baltimore, there was visible evidence of support for Lewis.
At Mother's Federal Hill Grille last night, a bartender and several patrons wore T-shirts bearing the words -- in Ravens purple -- "Free Ray Lewis." Bartender Don Park said a friend of the bar's staff, Bill Leahy of Annapolis, came in with the T-shirts and quickly found people willing to buy them for $10.
Sun staff writers Caitlin Francke, Jamison Hensley and Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this article.