Judge sets Clarett's bond at $5 million

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Ohio State running back was called a "threat to the community."

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett closed his eyes and softly shook his head.

Wearing the same type of tan, jail-issue jumpsuit he'd sported here once before, the former Ohio State star running back reacted with quiet disbelief as the judge announced his bond on a gun charge: $5 million, an amount that will almost certainly keep him in jail through the weekend.

Following his bizarre and violent encounter with police the day before, prosecutors had asked a judge to hold Clarett on at least $1 million bond.

"We feel he's a threat to the community," assistant prosecutor Chris Brown said.

Clarett stood against a wall next to his lawyer during Thursday's arraignment, did not say anything and was not addressed by the judge. His attorney, Nick Mango, called the $5 million bond excessive, adding that his client would not likely be able to post it.

Mango would not speculate on why four loaded guns -- including an AK-47-style assault rifle -- were in the SUV Clarett was driving early Wednesday.

"We're very confident that there was no intent to harm anyone," Mango said.

Prosecutors initially asked the judge to hold Clarett without bond, in part because he had been driving just a few blocks from the home of a woman scheduled to testify against him in his robbery trial, which starts Monday.

In that case, witnesses said Clarett flashed a gun and robbed them of a cell phone behind a Columbus nightclub earlier this year.

Franklin County Municipal Judge Andrea Peeples said she set the bond so high because the 22-year-old Clarett attempted to flee 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.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: