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Raiders’ McClain ordered to jail

By Jerry McDonald, The Oakland Tribune –

The football season of middle linebacker Rolando McClain was in question Thursday after his conviction on charges of assault, reckless endangerment, menacing and wrongful discharge of a firearm by a Decatur (Ala.) Municipal Court judge.

McClain, the former Butkus Award winner from Alabama, was ordered by judge Billy Cook to spend 180 days in jail — 45 days for each charge — and begin serving his sentence June 1. If McClain were start on time and serve out his sentence, it would essentially wipe out the 2012 season.

However, McClain’s lawyer filed for an appeal before leaving the courthouse. A Circuit Court appeal in Morgan County would include a jury trial, and McClain is free pending the appeal.

McClain, who was also fined $2,000, did not take the stand in his own defense and left without talking to reporters.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail the matter would be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.

The Raiders released a statement Thursday, saying the team is “well aware of the proceedings in the Alabama courts today. The team will continue to closely monitor the legal process, understanding that when appropriate the NFL will review the situation under its personal conduct policy.”

Harvey Steinberg, the attorney for McClain, told the Huntsville Times the verdict was “meaningless” and said, “We get a jury trial. Most lawyers say let’s stipulate and start all over. I wanted to put this on so we could show how ridiculous this entire situation is. It truly is. There is no basis for it.”

Before declaring McClain guilty, according to the Huntsville Times, Cook referenced a witness who lived across the street from the incident who said he heard a gunshot and saw a flash from a gun.

Earlier in the day, Jaradious Williams, the co-defendant along with McClain in the case, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault charges and testified against McClain. Williams faces 90 days in jail and approximately $300 in fines.

The conviction stems from an incident Nov. 30, with Rishard Tapscott the victim of an alleged assault. Tapscott said McClain threatened to kill him and put a gun next to his ear and fired it.

A cell phone video of the incident surfaced Wednesday, sent anonymously to the Decatur Daily, although it did not show McClain either striking the victim or with a weapon.

McClain was in Alabama at the time attending the funeral of a relative. He told former coach Hue Jackson he hadn’t done what he was accused of doing and was not punished.

The No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft, McClain has not had the impact the Raiders had hoped on the team’s struggling defense, which has finished 27th and 29th against the run over the past two seasons.

McClain was not in attendance at the team’s organized team activity this week while attending to the legal matter. Tapscott has also hired an attorney and is seeking unspecified damages in a civil suit against McClain and Williams.

Two weeks ago, McClain settled a suit with a former Alabama student who claimed McClain hit him intentionally with a vehicle.

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