Tony Allen Posts Bond

October 22, 2005

Tony Allen appeared in court yesterday afternoon, posted $150,000 bond, and returned to Boston after spending a second night in a Chicago jail and being charged with aggravated battery, according to his attorney, Michael Zaslavsky. The charge stems from his role in a fight that escalated into a shooting at the White Palace Grill in Chicago's West Loop Aug. 28.

   The conditions of his bond allow Allen to "only travel for work purposes," said Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman Tom Stanton. Allen is due back in Chicago Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

    If indicted between now and then, Allen will be formally charged Wednesday with the Class 3 felony for allegedly striking Nigel Odum in the face during the altercation. He would then await arraignment and the opportunity to enter a plea. Aggravated assault carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

"I think the charges that they brought are without merit," said Zaslavsky. "Tony is anxious to defend the charges brought against him, so that a jury can find that he is not guilty of all charges."

During the bond hearing, presided over by judge Laura Sullivan, state's attorney Lorraine Scaduto provided a narrative of what the prosecution alleges happened in the early-morning hours of Aug. 28. That version of events has Allen pointing out shooting victim Marktwain Johnson as soon as he entered the White Palace Grill with a large group. The two men had argued in the past about how much money Allen makes. The second-year guard will earn $969,600 this season as stipulated by the rookie scale for players selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft.

Shortly after spotting Johnson, the prosecution alleges Allen instructed members of his entourage to "[expletive] him up." A fight ensued. The prosecution claims to have video from a surveillance camera at the White Palace Grill that shows Allen pointing to Johnson and Odum, as well as striking Odum in the face and later kicking Odum who was on the ground.

Odum suffered a fractured left eye socket as a result of the fight and required surgery to repair the injury. According to the prosecution, Odum lost his job as a result of the injury and has yet to regain full vision in his left eye. In fact, the prosecution says, his vision may never be fully restored. Johnson was shot in the left arm and left side during the altercation.

When asked about the video evidence, Zaslavsky said, "I wouldn't say I'm concerned. I'm anxious to see it. I expect to see it through the discovery process."

Other details emerged during the bond hearing regarding Allen's behavior that morning and afterward. Stanton said, "During his initial questioning by police and immediately after the incident, Allen did not give accurate information about his age and address" and "he was very combative with police, verbally abusive during a lineup procedure."

Zaslavsky reiterated several times his belief that Allen is not guilty, though he would not comment as to whether Allen was unfairly targeted because of his status as an NBA player. The league and the Celtics are closely monitoring the proceedings. Allen could face discipline from both the league and the Celtics as a result of his legal troubles.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, NBA commissioner David Stern has the authority to discipline players for conduct he deems detrimental to the league. That discipline can come in the form of fines or suspensions. Stern can act before legal proceedings run their course, though typically the NBA allows the legal system to act first.

"We will continue to monitor the situation," said NBA spokesman Tim Frank.

   The Celtics have taken a similar wait-and-see approach. For now, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers are simply concerned for Allen. Technically, the Celtics can penalize Allen the same way the league can, with a fine or suspension.

"We're going to wait [to decide on team discipline]," said Ainge. "And that's an internal matter we'll never discuss."

Added Rivers: "[The felony charge] was not what we hoped for, but it's out of our control. Tony put himself in this position and Tony is going to have to get himself out of this position. He knows that we support him 100 percent. He's a guy on our team that we need. But I'm far more concerned about Tony the person. I'm sure he's not doing great, but you put yourself in this position, then this is what happens.

Before being sidelined by right knee surgery and legal troubles, Allen was viewed as a key part of the Celtics' rotation. He averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a rookie. Boston hopes to have Allen back on the floor by mid-to-late November, though court appearances will undoubtedly interrupt his rehab and possibly delay his return.

"He's just got to remain positive," said teammate Paul Pierce. "These type of situations you get in when you're in the limelight and when people know who you are and you're a target, just like I was a target in my [stabbing] incident a few years back. I believe he's going to come out on the good side of it. I have him in my thoughts. I told him [in a phone message] that everything is going to be all right. That's all I can do right now. We're his family, so we've just got to lend our support. Once he gets back with us, he'll be all right."

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