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Kallas Remarks: LT And The Plea

By Steve Kallas
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Lawrence Taylor decided to plead guilty yesterday, in New York State Supreme Court in New City, New York, to two misdemeanors, sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute.  As a result of the plea deal with prosecutors, Taylor will avoid jail time but will be on probation for six years.  In addition, on March 22, New York State Supreme Court Justice William Kelly will decide what level of sex offender status Lawrence Taylor will have in the future.


You have to give a lot of credit to Arthur Aidala, Lawrence Taylor's attorney, for getting no jail time for his client.  It's a very good result for a defendant to admit to having sex with an underage girl and get off with probation.  But, in this case, the prosecutors cited Taylor's "cooperation" as a reason for the proposed sentence of six years probation and no jail time.

According to the Associated Press, one prosecutor, Patricia Gunning, stated that the plea deal was acceptable to the prosecutors in part because Taylor had assisted in investigations into human trafficking. Prosecutor Arthur Ferraro said that LT "was of assistance in the field of human trafficking in several jurisdictions and with federal authorities."

The interesting part of those statements is that it would seem that Taylor was able to give information on multiple investigations in multiple jurisdictions.  His attorney stated, according to the Associated Press, that Taylor's cooperation "obviously" included a federal case against Rasheed Davis, who was charged in Manhattan with, among other things, sex trafficking as the pimp of the 16-year-old victim in the LT case.  It would seem, however, from the prosecutors' statements, that LT gave information on other cases as well.

According to legal experts, this cooperation, coupled with not wanting to put the 16-year-old victim through a trial, was what led prosecutors to agree to a deal with no jail time, after previously offering a plea deal with six months jail time, which was rejected by LT and his attorney.


After admitting during his plea that he paid the 16-year-old $300 to have sex with him, Lawrence Taylor will now become a registered sex offender.  On March 22, he will again appear before Justice Kelly, who will decide what level offender LT will be in the future.

In New York State, there are three levels of sex offender status: Level 1 (low risk of repeat offense); Level 2 (moderate risk of repeat offense); or Level 3 (high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists).  Arthur Aidala, LT's attorney, has already stated that he will argue for the lowest (Level 1) category, according to the AP.

Level 1 sex offenders, generally speaking, must register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services for 20 years.  Level 2 and 3 offenders must register for life.


According to Joseph Heinzmann, former Bronx Assistant District Attorney, Lawrence Taylor was not given a break due to his celebrity: "A perceived lenient disposition may be reached owing to a number of factors.  There are many things we will never know which could have affected the prosecutors' decision.  For example,

1)     Did the victim tell the police or prosecutors that she represented herself to be of legal age?

2)     Did the victim confirm Taylor's assertion that he inquired as to her age?

3)     Is the victim willing to testify?

4)     Will testifying in open court do unjustifiable harm to the victim?

5)     What is the nature and extent of Taylor's reported cooperation with law enforcement?

6)     Has Taylor agreed to testify in a potential trial of other, more important investigative targets?

7)     Has Taylor given information that has led or will lead to more human trafficking arrests?

"We don't know the answers to these questions.  But any notion that Taylor was given leniency due to his celebrity status is simply untrue.  In fact, we probably would not know that he is now a known police informant if not for his celebrity.  If his name was Lawrence Smith, it's unlikely that this information would be public knowledge.

"Finally, six years of supervised probation and registration as a sex offender is not a slap-on-the-wrist sentence."


Well, it could have been much worse for Lawrence Taylor.  Obviously, he had a lot of information about this and probably other cases that apparently has been very helpful to prosecutors in getting criminals higher up on the food chain.  His lawyer, Arthur Aidala, did a very good job.  LT was apparently able to provide a lot of information to prosecutors about multiple cases and, with a general aversion of making victims "re-live" the crime, LT was able to avoid jail time.

Taylor returns to court on March 22 for his sex offender level hearing.

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