Originally created 07/18/02

Iverson returns to mansion after arraignment



PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson's day ended much as it began: at home in his mansion with a media horde camped outside. In between, the NBA star spent nearly 11 hours in custody and was arraigned on gun and assault charges.

Wearing a baggy white T-shirt, Iverson appeared in court via closed-circuit TV as he sat in a concrete detention block at police headquarters.

No plea was entered for the Philadelphia 76ers guard Tuesday, although Iverson's lawyer, Richard Sprague, told the court his client would plead innocent.

The former NBA MVP is charged with bursting into a cousin's apartment with a gun and threatening two men while looking for his wife.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of more than 50 years, although lawyers not involved in the case said he is unlikely to serve jail time if convicted.

Iverson appeared on screen for about three minutes and did not speak, except to softly answer "yes" to acknowledge his presence. He appeared haggard, at times running his hand through his disheveled hair.

Iverson's arrest created a circus atmosphere outside police headquarters, where throngs of reporters and photographers awaited the latest news, fans gathered to show support, children sold lemonade and a group of sports radio station listeners in circus garb chanted "Free A.I.! Free A.I.!"

Iverson was whisked away minutes after bail commissioner Abraham Polokoff ordered him released on $10,000 unsecured bail pending his next court appearance Monday. He wasn't required to post any money, but would be liable for the cash if he failed to appear in court. No restrictions were set on his movements while he awaits trial.

After being confined to his $2.4 million suburban Philadelphia home for several days while awaiting arrest, Iverson left before dawn Tuesday in a convoy of sport utility vehicles and a minivan. He surrendered at about 5:30 a.m. to face 14 charges, including assault, making threats and carrying a gun without a license. He was back home shortly before 5 p.m.

Iverson is accused of throwing his wife, Tawanna, out of the mansion during a fight earlier this month, then barging into his cousin's apartment with a gun the next night and threatening Charles Jones, 21, and Hakim Carey, 17.

In a police affidavit released Tuesday, Jones claimed Iverson lifted his shirt to reveal a black semiautomatic handgun. "Either I'm going to die or I'm going to jail and I guarantee I'm not going to die," Iverson said, according to the complaint.

Tawanna Iverson has since returned home and relatives said the couple's spat was not serious.

Iverson's uncle, Gregory Iverson, 39, also turned himself in at about dawn to face charges that he accompanied Iverson that night. He was released on the same terms as his nephew. His attorney, Guy Sciolla, said Gregory Iverson intends to plead innocent.

While in police custody, Iverson was fingerprinted and photographed and took his place in a long line to appear before the bail commissioner. Police said he was separated from other prisoners, but did not get special attention.

Iverson was arrested as a teenager in Virginia in 1993 after a bowling-alley brawl and spent four months in jail before he was granted clemency by the governor. The conviction was later overturned. In 1997, Iverson pleaded no contest to gun possession.

But the 27-year-old player has remained enormously popular. His jersey is among the league's top sellers, and Reebok last year gave Iverson a lifetime extension of his 10-year, $50 million endorsement contract.