- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2002

PHILADELPHIA NBA All-Star Allen Iverson was cleared of all but a misdemeanor yesterday at a hearing into charges that he stormed into his cousin's apartment with a gun and threatened two men while looking for his wife.

Two counts of making terroristic threats were left standing after the six-hour preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors had enough evidence to try Iverson.

"It sounds like you had a relative looking for a relative at the house of a relative," Municipal Court Judge James DeLeon said.

The ruling followed testimony from Iverson's cousin, Shaun Bowman, and the two accusers, Charles Jones and his friend Hakim Carey, who disagreed on several key points, including whether the Philadelphia 76ers' guard was carrying a gun.

Iverson, 27, the NBA MVP for the 2000-01 season and a three-time league scoring champion, was accused of throwing his wife, Tawanna, out of their home, then barging into Bowman's apartment July3.

Iverson was arrested on 14 felony and misdemeanor charges, including assault, terroristic threats and weapons offenses. Iverson's uncle, Gregory Iverson, also was charged, but he, too, now faces only the two misdemeanor counts.

The original charges carried a maximum sentence of more than 50 years. Prosecutors said they hadn't decided whether to refile the charges.

Iverson was the subject of intense media scrutiny after the accusations surfaced. Hordes of reporters and photographers camped outside his suburban mansion in the days before he surrendered July16 to face the charges.

The 76ers applauded the judge's decision.

"We look forward to the resolution of the remaining issue in this matter so that both Allen and the 76ers can return their full focus where it properly belongs: on the basketball court," the team said in a statement.

Jones, Bowman's 21-year-old roommate, told police he was fast asleep July3 when he awoke to find Iverson standing over him, cursing and threatening him. He said Iverson lifted his shirt to show him a black handgun tucked in his waistband and declared, "I'm about to do something."

Carey initially told police he also saw a gun. Under cross-examination, however, Carey testified that Jones pressured him to tell police Iverson had a weapon. Carey testified he had merely seen a black object in Iverson's waistband and did not "jump to conclusions" about what it was.

Carey, 18, said he didn't want to go to police but Jones talked him into it. The teen-ager said he feared he'd be harmed, even shot, if he became known in Philadelphia as Iverson's accuser.

Carey and Jones disagreed on many other key points, leading defense attorney Richard Sprague to tell the judge, "I call for the court to give a ringing dismissal of these charges."

Bowman, meanwhile, testified that Iverson paid the rent and had permission to enter the apartment. Bowman also said that Jones offered to drop the accusations if Iverson paid $100,000.

This is not Iverson's first brush with the law.

As a teen-ager in 1993, he was arrested after a bowling alley brawl in Hampton, Va., and spent four months in jail before he was granted clemency by Gov.Douglas Wilder. The conviction later was overturned.

In 1997, Iverson pleaded no contest to gun possession.

He also made an unreleased rap CD in which he used derogatory terms for women and gays, and he has fought several times with 76ers coach Larry Brown.

Through it all, Iverson remains enormously popular. His 76ers jersey is the among the league's top sellers, and Reebok last year gave Iverson a lifetime extension of his 10-year, $50million endorsement contract.

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