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Defense Attorney Ed Garland Holds News Conference on Ray Lewis Plea Agreement

Aired June 5, 2000 - 9:48 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live here in Atlanta. Defense attorney Ed Garland is speaking outside the Atlanta courthouse where defensive -- NFL defensive star Ray Lewis just pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ED GARLAND, RAY LEWIS' ATTORNEY: He looked at the evidence, heard it in the courtroom. And to his credit, without concern for the media coverage or what people think, he stood up and did the right thing and had the courage to stand up and say, the state dismisses this case.

QUESTION: But you would suggest that he should have done that a long time ago. Why not then and why now?

GARLAND: I would suggest that the case should have never been brought. And I think the state made mistakes. They didn't investigate fully, they didn't conduct a grand jury, they didn't hear from us before they indicted. And when you're indicted and you're an innocent man, it is a horrible situation to be in. And then you've got to follow your lawyer's advice. He followed our advice, and today he has been exonerated.

QUESTION: When you notified Ray Lewis about the plea agreement, tell us his reaction.

GARLAND: I discussed it thoroughly with Ray. He was very thoughtful and reflective. We reviewed exactly what his testimony would be. He said a prayer with me about his duties and responsibilities and what he was doing. And he was happy to go forward and let the truth, all of it, come out.

QUESTION: But is it possible that his testimony may point to other possible suspects? Is it possible?

GARLAND: There will be testimony that affects more than the people on trial.

QUESTION: How does he feel about testifying against (OFF-MIKE)?

GARLAND: Anyone who did what occurred there, whoever that is -- and we're not pre-judging anyone. That's for the jury, and its not our job to say that. But anyone that did that was no friend of Ray Lewis. Those people on that night that did that put in jeopardy his whole life and his career, and he does not view anyone as a friend who did that.

QUESTION: And were the Ravens involved in the discussions yesterday?

GARLAND: No, they were not involved in the discussions in terms of speaking with the district attorney. But I have advised the Ravens and Mr. Modell of my intended course of action. And the Ravens, as they have done throughout, have been 100 percent supportive of Ray Lewis. And I've advised they welcome him back. And he'll go back to practicing and preparing for his role as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Ed, how do you think this affects Ray Lewis (OFF- MIKE)?

GARLAND: I think any ordeal like this makes a person grow in many ways. I think he is a stronger, better person for having gone through it. It was very expensive to him, the cost of the investigation. We had a staff of four investigators for four months. He had adequate legal counsel. And he has learned that you cannot assume that someone who's around you when you are a star and a celebrity is going to conduct themselves properly. So I think, in the future, Ray Lewis will protect himself from the wrong company.

QUESTION: How much is this going to cost Ray?

GARLAND: I'm not going to discuss that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

GARLAND: A mere pittance and an adequate amount.

QUESTION: What happens to Ray Lewis regarding his probation, particularly if he can't get a transfer?

GARLAND: I think that will not be a problem. And we will work that out in a way that he can report to the probation office here. I will make a request that he be allowed to report either by mail or by telephone.

QUESTION: Ed, will his probation (OFF-MIKE) will not file any kind of civil action against the county or the police department?

GARLAND: There are no conditions such as that attached concerning any civil suits. I expect Ray Lewis wants to put this behind him and move on with his career and go back to Baltimore.

QUESTION: Mr. Garland, when do you think Ray will take the witness stand?

GARLAND: I anticipate that it probably will be tomorrow. However, it could be this afternoon.

KAGAN: We've been listening to defense attorney Ed Garland as he speaks outside of an Atlanta courtroom. He represents Ray Lewis, the NFL star who, as you saw earlier this morning, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge. This in the January 31 deaths of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker. Those stabbing deaths happened the night after the Super Bowl.

In exchange for the guilty plea in the misdemeanor charge, murder charges are being dropped against Ray Lewis. He will get 12 months probation and he becomes the star witness in the remaining case against the two remaining defendants, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley. Ed Garland, the defense attorney, also saying he expects Ray Lewis to testify either this afternoon or tomorrow, and to be back playing with the Baltimore Ravens as soon as possible.

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