Ravens' J. Lewis prepared to enter guilty plea

BALTIMORE - Jamal Lewis is expected to plead guilty at a Thursday hearing to using a cellular phone to try to set up a drug transaction. The plea agreement is expected to include a sentence of four months in a minimum-security prison and two months in a halfway house after football season, according to reports.

Therefore, the Baltimore Ravens' star running back avoids the possibility of a decade in prison by the agreement his lawyers struck with prosecutors who indicted Lewis on cocaine conspiracy charges in February. The trial is set for Nov. 1 in Lewis' hometown of Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Lewis' playing status with the NFL remains uncertain. His punishment from the NFL could include a possible suspension during this season. The NFL will consider a guilty plea to a drug-related offense as a strike against the substance-abuse policy.

Lewis was suspended without pay for four games in 2001 for a violation of the league drug policy.

"Our goal is to attempt to solve this problem in a way that will result in Jamal continuing to be able, in some condition to play football," Ed Garland, Lewis' lawyer, told CBS' Baltimore affiliate on Monday.

Lewis pleaded not guilty in February and was freed on $500,000 bond in a case stemming from FBI tapes of the NFL player and his childhood friend and co-defendant Angelo "Pero" Jackson allegedly talking about securing and selling cocaine at a restaurant in Buckhead, Ga.

Lewis played Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, but hasn't signed a plea agreement according to reports.

Jackson's lawyer, Steve Sadow told CBS: "I would say, as it stands right now, it is a fabulous deal for Jamal and Angelo Jackson is the one suffering as a result of it."

Sadow asked a federal court Monday to unseal details of the plea negotiations between Lewis' representations

The lawyer filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Atlanta arguing that because key elements of the negotiations have been leaked to the media, there's no reason to keep any paperwork associated with the discussions a secret, according to the Associated Press.

"Jamal Lewis' case is of great interest to the defendant and the public," Sadow wrote in his motion.

U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans is expected to approve the deal, although the hearing apparently hasn't been set on the court docket.
Lewis isn't required to testify against Jackson, although he may choose to cooperate, according to the Associated Press.

Lewis and Jackson are both charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine and attempted cocaine possession.

Lawyers for both defendants have maintained that their clients were entrapped by key government informant Tomeka Richard, who has multiple aliases and continued to commit crimes while working for the government according to court records.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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