- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2006

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor’s trial on felony assault and misdemeanor battery charges was postponed yet again yesterday, this time from March 20 to April 10, after claims of witness tampering.

At a hearing in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, assistant state attorney Michael Grieco said a witness had received threatening phone calls about the case and had been offered money to influence his or her testimony. Grieco declined to identify the witness or who reportedly had made the threats and offered the money but said the matter was under investigation.

However, Edward Carhart, Taylor’s lead attorney, told The Washington Times that Ryan Hill is the state’s witness who had been on the receiving end of the alleged threats and inducements. Carhart added that Taylor, too, has received threatening calls.

In response to Grieco’s report and a request from Taylor’s recently expanded defense team for more time to take witness statements from three people who live outside of Florida, Judge Mary Barzee delayed the trial, which originally had been set for last Sept. 12. The charges stem from a June 1 incident in which Taylor claims two of his all-terrain vehicles were stolen and he sought their return.

Taylor, 22, faces a maximum of 46 years in prison on three aggravated assault charges (15 years apiece) and one simple battery charge (one year). Each assault charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of three years. Since prosecutors claim Taylor used a gun, they refused to waive the minimum 3-year prison term in exchange for a guilty plea.

While the state claims Taylor and or an associate brandished guns during two of three separate confrontations during the incident, Carhart maintains the only weapons on either side were used to shoot holes in his client’s Yukon Denali SUV and in the walls of the house of one of Taylor’s friends.

Taylor, who was not present in court yesterday, has pleaded not guilty and is free on $16,500 bail. He’s due to report to Redskin Park for the start of offseason workouts March 27.

The fifth pick in the 2004 draft, Taylor has starred for the Redskins as both a playmaker and a ferocious hitter, but he has been plagued by controversy in addition to the criminal charges.

Taylor fired two sets of agents before rehiring the first. He was fined $25,000 for leaving the NFL’s mandatory rookie symposium a day early, $17,000 for spitting in the face of Tampa Bay’s Michael Pittman and lesser amounts for late hits and uniform violations.

He was arrested on Oct. 28, 2004, on a driving under the influence charge that was later dropped. Taylor also refused to participate in Washington’s offseason program last spring, declining to return the calls of coach Joe Gibbs, who has been listed as a character witness by the defense team along with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Taylor opted to remain in Miami and became involved in the incident.

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