WASHINGTON (AP) — Suspended Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas was ordered Friday to spend 30 days in a halfway house for his conviction on gun charges stemming from a locker-room confrontation with a teammate.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin also sentenced Arenas to 400 of community service, which cannot be conducted at basketball clinics, and $5,000 fine.
Arenas apologized in court for his actions, saying, "Every day, I wake up wishing it did not happen."
Arenas pleaded guilty to violating the city's gun laws in a Dec. 21 incident at Verizon Center. Following an argument over an unpaid gambling debt, Arenas brought several guns to the Wizards' locker room and set them in front of Javaris Crittenton's locker with a sign telling him to "PICK 1."
In court papers, prosecutors said Crittenton had legitimate reason to believe Arenas' threat was genuine.
Prosecutors wanted Arenas to go to jail for at least three months. They said he lied repeatedly about why the guns were in the locker room and even tried to cover up what happened. They also said he knew bringing guns into D.C. was illegal and has a prior gun conviction.
U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh wrote in court papers that "if any other individual — without the fame, power, and the wealth of this defendant — brought four firearms into Washington, D.C., for the purpose of a similar confrontation," they would surely go to jail.
Arenas' lawyers asked for probation and community service, arguing that he was playing a misguided prank with no intention to harm anybody. They point out that the guns were unloaded, that Arenas' lighthearted comments about the incident were misinterpreted, and that he's a good role model who goes beyond the call of duty when it comes to community service.
"This sad saga has sent a strong message to any and all who might consider bringing guns into the district," defense attorneys wrote.
The maximum term for Arenas' crime is five years. The sentencing guidelines for someone with his record call for six months to two years, although those guidelines also allow for probation.
There has been little dispute about the basic facts of the case. Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton got into an argument over a card game and exchanged threats while the team was flying home Dec. 19 from a road game. Two days later, Arenas brought his guns to the locker room and put them in a chair by Crittenton's locker with a sign saying, "Pick 1." Crittenton then retrieved his own gun and showed it to Arenas.
Crittenton pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor gun charge and received a year of unsupervised probation.
Arenas entered his guilty plea Jan. 15.
Arenas' sentence could determine whether the Wizards will attempt to void the remainder of his six-year, $111 million contract, although the players' union has vowed to fight such a move. Regardless, Arenas' misdeed has helped contribute to the precipitous decline of a franchise that is headed for its second consecutive last-place finish after several years of regularly reaching the playoffs.
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