- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 25, 2005

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was arraigned yesterday in Miami on a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm and on a misdemeanor charge of simple battery.

Under Florida law, Taylor, 22, would face a three-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of 16 years in prison if convicted of the felony. The former University of Miami All-American also would be subject to NFL discipline if convicted.

“I was disappointed that the charges weren’t dropped,” said Taylor’s attorney, Edward Carhart. “I feel the state has chosen the wrong side to prosecute. Hopefully, the decision had nothing to do with the high profile nature of Sean Taylor.”

The charges stem from a June 1 incident in the West Perrine section of Miami during which Taylor purportedly assaulted three victims who he claimed stole two of his all-terrain vehicles. Miami-Dade police, to whom Taylor turned himself in June 4, had sought two assault charges, but when a third victim was found, the state’s attorney office decided to consolidate the felony charges.

Police accuse Taylor of pointing a gun at the victims, one of whom has been identified as Ryan Hill, and accomplice Charles Elwood Caughman of wielding a baseball bat. Caughman faces a felony assault charge in the case.

A Miami-Dade police spokesman said the second phase of the incident, during which shots were supposedly fired at Taylor in retaliation, remains under investigation. Taylor passed a polygraph test administered last Thursday by the well-regarded Warren Holmes, but polygraph results are usually not admissible in court.

Taylor, who hasn’t spoken to the media since his Oct. 29 arrest for driving under the influence, wasn’t available to comment yesterday. A Redskins spokesman declined to comment.

Neither Taylor nor Carhart attended the arraignment, but they are required to appear before Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Mary Barzee on July 12 to update her on discovery in the case.

Trial is tentatively set for Sept. 12, the day after the Redskins open the season against the Chicago Bears. However, Carhart plans to ask Barzee to postpone the trial until next offseason in order not to further disrupt Taylor’s football career. Taylor is expected to be on hand when the Redskins begin training camp at Redskin Park on Aug. 1.

“Sean’s a part of our family, and when he comes back, we’ll welcome him with open arms,” linebacker Marcus Washington said.

Taylor, whom the Redskins claimed was the most researched draft pick in NFL history when they chose him fifth overall in 2004, has been as troubled off the field as he is talented on it. He has used three agents and three attorneys, been fined by the NFL several times and suspended by Redskins coach Joe Gibbs for a game in the wake of the DUI charges. Taylor was cleared of those charges this spring.

A first alternate to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Taylor greatly disappointed the Redskins by failing to show for the entire voluntary offseason program at Redskin Park. He also resisted Gibbs’ attempts to reach him until June 9, when he was excused from the mandatory minicamp in order to focus on his legal situation.

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