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NFL's Haynesworth pleads no contest in fondling case

Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth walks off the field during their third day of NFL football training camp in Virgini
Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth walks off the field during their third day of NFL football training camp in Virgini

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Washington Redskins football player Albert Haynesworth pleaded no contest on Monday to an assault charge for fondling a female server at a hotel bar in February, federal prosecutors said.

The plea included a deferred sentencing deal that called for the 30-year-old Haynesworth to perform 160 hours of community service and undergo counseling as directed.

He also must obey all laws and court orders over the next 18 months, refrain from engaging in any assaultive, threatening, harassing or stalking behavior and stay away from the server, prosecutors said.

The New England Patriots late last month agreed to a trade with the Redskins for the disgruntled defensive lineman, who had previously played for the Tennessee Titans.

Haynesworth entered the plea to the simple assault misdemeanor offense at a hearing in local court. His trial had been scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Haynesworth, who signed a seven-year $100 million contract with the Redskins in February 2009, was sidelined without pay for the team's final four games last year for "conduct detrimental to the club."

Under a no contest plea, the defendant agrees that prosecutors could prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not contest the facts of the case.

According to a fact statement of the evidence submitted by prosecutors at the hearing, early on February 13, Haynesworth sat with a private party of 15 to 20 people in a cordoned-off lounge section on the rooftop terrace of The W Hotel.

Around 2 a.m., as the server cleared dishes from nearby tables, Haynesworth pulled out a credit card and indicated he was ready to pay the check, prosecutors said.

The server, who was wearing a dress that did not have pockets and who had both hands full of plates, told him that she would quickly put the dishes down. But Haynesworth insisted that she take his credit card immediately.

When she looked down at her full hands, Haynesworth slid the card down the front of her dress, inserting it between her bra and skin, prosecutors said.

He then moved his hand toward her left breast, eventually touching her nipple with the backs of his fingers, they said.

"This resolution requires Mr. Haynesworth to atone for his crime while at the same time honoring the victim's wishes and allowing her to move on with her life," U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement.

If Haynesworth complies with all conditions of the agreement, prosecutors will go along with a defense motion to withdraw the plea and will dismiss the case.

(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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