LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge on Wednesday ordered former NFL cornerback Damon Arnette to appear in person to resolve a felony gun case by pleading guilty to two misdemeanors stemming from an argument with Las Vegas Strip casino valets in January 2022.
“I’m going to need the justification for the agreement,” Clark County District Court Judge Ronald Israel told Arnette’s attorney, Ross Goodman, before rescheduling a hearing for Monday to accept the plea deal.
Goodman protested that similar deals are routinely accepted by judges without the defendant appearing in court. The attorney pointed to a document that Arnette signed last week with prosecutors calling for him to perform 50 hours of community service, pay $2,000 in fines, “forfeit firearm” and serve the equivalent of one year on probation.
Goodman added that his client was in talks with the Dallas Cowboys about a contract for the upcoming NFL season.
“I want to make sure he is absolutely clear,” Israel responded, citing video evidence of the confrontation with the valets and previous allegations involving Arnette and guns. “Yes, he is getting a misdemeanor. That’s the (district attorney’s) choice. But I want him to understand that no guns means no guns.”
Arnette, 26, was a first-round draft pick by the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 and played in 13 games for the team before he was dropped in November 2021 amid allegations that he displayed guns and made death threats on social media. He was not charged with a crime at that time.
By admitting guilt to misdemeanors, Arnette avoids trial on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed firearm, felonies that combined carry the possibility of up to 10 years in state prison.
Arnette was indicted May 12 after a grand jury in Las Vegas heard evidence that he held a .45-caliber handgun and threatened two hotel valets during an argument about a receipt for parking Arnette’s Mercedes SUV at the Park MGM.
Arnette drove away, but Las Vegas police stopped him nearby and arrested him. Officers reported finding a gun in the driver’s side door. A passenger also was arrested with a handgun, police reported, but charges against that man were dropped last year.
Following Arnette’s arrest, the Kansas City Chiefs released him from a reserve contract he had signed just days earlier.
He played college football at Ohio State and lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.