Thursday, April 2, 2009

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. (AP) - Suspended NFL star Michael Vick appeared in a Virginia courtroom for the first time Thursday to answer questions about his plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

Vick, who left a federal prison in Kansas last week so he could travel to Virginia to attend the hearing, turned around to wave and smile at family members sitting in the courtroom before the hearing began.

The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is serving a 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting ring, and his bankruptcy plan is based on the goal of returning to a professional football career. He’s scheduled to be released from custody in July, but could be sent to home confinement in late May.

One of Vick’s lawyers, Michael Blumenthal, told the court that most objections to Vick’s bankruptcy plan have been resolved.

Among them is the U.S. Labor Department’s complaint that Vick, 28, improperly spent $1.3 million from the pension plan of one of his companies, MV7, a celebrity marketing company. The settlement calls for Vick to waive his participation in the pension plan and restore some of the money.

Earlier this week Vick and the Falcons agreed that he would pay back $6.5 million of his Atlanta contract, moving closer to cutting ties with a team that doesn’t want him.

Under his bankruptcy plan, Vick would keep the first $750,000 of his salary, and creditors would get part of any additional earnings.

How and when Vick might begin a professional comeback isn’t clear. Vick was suspended indefinitely after his 2007 indictment, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will review Vick’s status after he is released.

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