ATTORNEYS DISCUSS CASE OF TEXAS TE SIGNEE REESE LEITAO

Attorneys on both sides met Tuesday to discuss a possible plea agreement in the felony drug possession case of 2017 Texas tight end signee Reese Leitao of Jenks (Tulsa) HS, Allen Smallwood, Leitao's attorney, told HD.

Smallwood told HornsDigest.com Tuesday he met with the Tulsa County district attorney's office regarding a possible plea agreement that would reduce Reese Leitao's felony drug possession charge down to a misdemeanor.

"It was positive," Smallwood said. "They know what we've asked for, but no decision has been made. I'm optimistic. But it's a stretch. It (a plea agreement from a felony to a misdemeanor) in cases like this don't happen very often."

Leitao's next court appearance is scheduled for May 23. But Smallwood said - one way or another - he hopes to have the case resolved before then.

A plea agreement reducing his case from a felony to a misdemeanor is the only possibility Leitao would have to maintain his UT scholarship.

According to the Jenks Campus Police Department, Leitao was in possession of roughly 20 Xanax tablets at the time of his arrest on Feb. 28 at Jenks High School. Fox 23 TV in Tulsa reported, according to police, Leitao admitted to a Jenks school administrator he was selling the tablets. 

A source connected to Jenks High School told HD it was their belief Leitao offered to take the tablets from a female Jenks student from a well-connected family in Tulsa, because Leitao didn’t think he’d get checked by campus officers.

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Here is a story I published in HD ONLY on March 29 about what Reese Christopher Leitao (pronounced LAY-toe), son of DePaul University basketball coach Dave Leitao, is facing:

March 29, 2017

By CHIP BROWN

HornsDigest.com

According to those at Jenks High School in Tulsa, who spoke to HornsDigest.com on condition of anonymity, there is no way you could’ve convinced them that Reese Leitao (pronounced LAY-toe), son of DePaul University basketball coach Dave Leitao, would’ve been arrested and charged with felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (Xanax) in a school zone last month.

 

One Jenks school administrator told HD there were tears in the eyes of more than one school official when they learned of the arrest of Leitao, who was described as a humble, straight-A student and universally liked tight end star on the Jenks football team.

 

“We take the facts of the case as well as the entire character of a defendant into consideration before making any decision about a possible plea agreement,” said Erik Grayless, the prosecutor in the Tulsa County district attorney’s office handling Leitao’s case.

 

“We have a lot of statements from administrators at Jenks High School who consider him (Leitao) a very good man.   

 

“Unfortunately, the facts of this case are run of the mill for us. We see cases like this all the time - just switch out the individual defendant.”

 

Leitao’s attorney, Allen Smallwood, declined to get into the facts of the case or how Leitao has found himself in this situation, which has put Leitao’s scholarship opportunity to Texas in jeopardy.

 

Smallwood would only say he intends to show the circumstances of the case do not match up with Leitao’s character and past behavior.

 

“If you would’ve asked anyone at Jenks prior to the arrest about Reese Leitao, they would’ve told you he’s a poster boy for athletically and academically gifted student-athletes,” Smallwood said. 

 

“Reese is a humble kid who comes from a great family. He’s an A-student who gets his homework in on time and causes no trouble for his teachers. 

 

“There’s no ego with this kid. Jenks football coach Allan Trimble, who is a legend in this community, told me he’d do anything for  Reese.”

 

According to the Jenks Campus Police Department, Leitao was in possession of roughly 20 Xanax tablets at the time of his arrest on Feb. 28 at Jenks High School. Fox 23 TV in Tulsa reported, according to police, Leitao admitted to a Jenks school administrator he was selling the tablets.

 

A source connected to Jenks High School told HD it was their belief Leitao offered to take the tablets from a female Jenks student from a well-connected family in Tulsa, because Leitao didn’t think he’d get checked by campus officers.

 

If the alleged offense happened most anywhere else - at the mall or on a downtown street - it would be charged as a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law. 

 

But because it happened within 2000 feet of  a school - or in this instance, inside the school - it’s a felony charge punishable by four years to life in prison upon conviction.

 

As far as the University of Texas is concerned, the only way Leitao would be allowed to enroll on a football scholarship is if the case is somehow reduced to a misdemeanor. Even if that happened, football coach Tom Herman and UT officials would have to agree Leitao was still deserving of the Texas scholarship.

 

And without either side talking about the facts of the case or how Leitao ended up in this situation, it’s hard to determine the likely outcome.

 

There is no question when Leitao sent in his letter of intent to Texas on National Signing Day (27 days before his arrest), the 6-foot-4, 237-pound 4-star tight end was seen as a possible answer immediately at a huge position of need for the Longhorns.

 

“It’s my understanding (Texas) coach (Tom) Herman would like to know how this is going to be resolved as soon as possible,” Grayless said. “There is a hearing set for April 18th at 9 am, so we’ll see where things are at that point. 

 

“There has been some conversation with Mr. Leitao’s counsel, but there’s been no formal request from them and nothing promised by the DA’s office. Ultimately, it’s up to them to make the case for any kind of plea agreement.”

 

Underwood said he hasn’t seen any witness statements collected by the prosecution.

 

But Underwood added, “Everything about Reese Leitao - from his grades to his character, even as stated by school administrators - has been golden.

 

“We’ll package all that and show he is deserving of the most consideration possible from the prosecution.”

 

 

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