Clarett Gets $5M Bond For Weapons Charge
By Matt Leingang, AP Writer
(AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio Maurice Clarett's bond on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon was set at $5 million Thursday, a day after the former Ohio State running back was arrested following a chase with police and four loaded guns were found in his sport utility vehicle.
Prosecutors had asked Franklin County Municipal Judge Andrea Peeples for a bond for Clarett of at least $1 million.
"We feel he's a threat to the community," assistant prosecutor Chris Brown said.
Clarett, wearing a jail-issue tan jumpsuit, stood motionless and expressionless against the wall next to his lawyer during the arraignment. He did not say anything and was not asked anything by the judge.
Clarett's attorney, Nick Mango, said the $5 million bond was excessive. He would not speculate on why the guns were in the SUV Clarett was driving.
"We're very confident that there was no intent to harm anyone," he said.
Peeples said she set the bond so high because Clarett fled police. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 18.
Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed an SUV driving erratically in the early morning hours Wednesday. A highway chase ensued, ending when police spiked Clarett's tires, sending his vehicle limping into a restaurant parking lot.
Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because the bulletproof vest he was wearing thwarted their stun guns. It took several police using pepper spray to get the 6-foot, 245-pounder into handcuffs.
He continued to struggle even as he was taken away, kicking at the doors of the transport vehicle, police said. Officers also secured a cloth mask over Clarett's mouth after they say he spat at them.
On Wednesday, prosecutors asked a judge to keep him in jail and revoke his bond on an earlier robbery charge.
They said they were concerned that Clarett was driving with the guns only a few blocks from the home of a woman who was set to testify against him next week in an alleged robbery outside a Columbus bar.
His bond in that case was raised to $1.1 million Wednesday after he was jailed on the new weapon and traffic charges, and Mango said that amount would likely be too high for Clarett to pay, meaning he would stay in jail for the duration of the robbery trial, which starts Monday.
Police said more charges are possible, and federal agents said they are eyeing whether Clarett violated federal gun laws that prohibit having a firearm while under indictment.
As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, the school's first since 1968.
Clarett was suspended for the 2003 season, the year after he led the Buckeyes to a national championship, because he was charged with falsifying a police report.
He dropped out of school, then sued unsuccessfully to be included in the 2004 NFL draft. He was a surprise third-round pick in the 2005 draft but was cut by the Denver Broncos during the preseason.
He plans to play for the Mahoning Valley Hitmen, one of five teams in the Eastern Indoor Football League. The team, based in Youngstown, is to begin play in January.