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NBC fires Marv Albert after guilty plea

Albert September 25, 1997
Web posted at: 5:01 p.m. EDT (1701 GMT)

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- NBC fired sportscaster Marv Albert hours after he pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor assault and battery in exchange for the prosecution dropping a forcible sodomy charge against him.

Albert, on trial in suburban Washington for biting a woman in a hotel room in February, was to face sentencing October 24.

"I just felt I had to end this ordeal for myself, my wonderful family, my fiancee," Albert said in a brief statement outside the Virginia courtroom. He refused to answer further questions. icon 315K/26 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Under the plea bargain, Albert admitted guilt to a misdemeanor and faces up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. The dropped charge, a felony, could have brought him five years to life in prison.

Correspondent Carl Rochelle explains the legal proceedings
icon 349K/32 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Albert spoke in a somber and low tone as he made his plea to Circuit Judge Benjamin N.A. Kendrick. His supporters, including his family, sat stoically in three rows of the courtroom, making no visible reaction. His fiancee, Heather Faulkiner, sat with her hands clasped in her lap.

Albert entered the plea a day after a second woman testified that he bit her during a sexual advance.

"The significance of that testimony is profound," prosecutor Richard Trodden said Thursday after announcing the agreement. icon 289K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Trodden said Albert had turned down the same plea bargain offer before the trial. He added that Albert's 42-year-old accuser had signed off on Thursday's plea arrangement.

"We feel it is appropriate that Mr. Albert pleaded guilty to this charge, to this crime against this victim," Trodden said.

Defense attorney Roy Black said that under Virginia law the defense had been barred from introducing about 85 percent of its evidence, making them seek the plea agreement.

"It made it difficult for us to proceed ahead with the case as we intended," Black said. "I thought this was the best way to end this matter."

On Wednesday, Patricia Masden described in testimony two encounters in which she claimed Albert bit her, including one in which he allegedly asked her for three-way sex.

She said that in 1994, the NBC sportscaster lured her to his room in the Dallas-Fort Worth Hyatt hotel with a request for assistance. She said he greeted her wearing women's panties and a garter belt and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him. She said she ripped off his toupee and fled from him.

Her testimony was similar to that of a Virginia woman, a longtime lover of Albert's, who said Albert bit her and forced her to perform oral sex in an Arlington hotel room on February 12. Albert was being tried on forcible sodomy and assault and battery charges stemming from that incident.

Defense attorneys sought to bar Wednesday's testimony, but the judge allowed it to show what prosecutors said was a pattern of conduct by the sportscaster.


Wednesday's developments:

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