Plaxico Burress was arraigned Monday on two separate counts of criminal possession of a handgun in the second degree after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh three days ago at a Midtown nightclub.
The New York Giants star faces a mandatory sentence of 3 ½ years in state prison, with a maximum of 15 years, on each count, according to reports.
Burress left a New York police station in handcuffs Monday after surrendering on the weapons possession charge, and police said that his teammate Antonio Pierce is being investigated over accusations that he tried to hide the gun that Burress shot himself with Friday evening.
The firearm in question, a Glock semiautomatic pistol, was recovered at Burress’s home in Totowa, N.J., an official said.
According to the New York Times, Burress remained seated on a bench at the back of the Manhattan courtroom while waiting to post the $100,000 bail, cash or bond, set by Criminal Court Judge Felicia Mennin.
The judge denied a request by Burress’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, to allow Burress to be released for 48 hours to post that bail. She then ordered Burress to return March 31.
Burress spent about five hours at the New York City Police Department’s 17th Precinct station house, likely posing for mug shots, being fingerprinted and sitting for interviews with detectives.
Meanwhile, the Times uncovered more details about the incident:
The police said that Burress arrived at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan on Friday at 11:30 p.m. with four others, including teammates linebacker Antonio Pierce and Derrick Ward. The other two members of their party were not football players, according to police. At 12:05 a.m., a single gunshot is heard.
The criminal complaint, released by prosecutors Monday, said that an onlooker saw Burress near the V.I.P. area of the club holding a drink in his left hand and fidgeting his right hand in the area of the waistline of his pants. The witness then heard a single “pop” sound before hearing Burress say, “Take me to the hospital.”
Burress was on the ground, with his legs shaking, when a bloody gun — a .40-caliber Glock pistol — fell out of his pant leg and onto the floor, the onlooker said.
Later, Burress, who does not have a permit to carry a handgun in New York City, was treated and released at a hospital before returning to his home in Totowa, N.J.
On Monday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg blasted Burress for carrying an illegal handgun; New York Presbyterian Hospital for failing to call the police of his gun-related injury, as state law requires; and the New York Giants, which also neglected to notify the authorities.
Bloomberg said that the police did not find out about the incident until it was reported on TV. He demanded that the district attorney throw the book at the Giants receiver and that he serve hard time. He also suggested firing staffers at the elite hospital, where sources told The New York Post that employees lied for Burress.
Speaking to reporters after Burress’ arrival at the precinct, Brafman said his client would “deal with the legal process in a responsible and professional manner.”
“He is standing tall,” said Brafman, who has represented high-profile clients, including rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs in his 2001 bribery and weapons case. “He’s a mature adult handling this very well, I think, under the circumstances. He has asked me to tell all the fans who’ve written and called, and his teammates, that he very much appreciates their expressions of concern.”