Co-defendant says Vick bankrolled dogfighting ring

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - One of Michael Vick's co-defendants pleaded guilty Monday to his role in a dogfighting conspiracy he says was financed almost entirely by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

Tony Taylor, of Hampton, Va., walks through a crowd of media outside U.S. District Court, in Richmond, Va., Monday, July 30, 2007, after a plea agreement hearing. Taylor, 34, a co-defendent of Atlanta Falcon Quarterback Michael Vick, pleaded guilty Monday to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. Vick and two other co-defendants pleaded not guilty last week to the same charges.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Tony Taylor, of Hampton, Va., walks through a crowd of media outside U.S. District Court, in Richmond, Va., Monday, July 30, 2007, after a plea agreement hearing. Taylor, 34, a co-defendent of Atlanta Falcon Quarterback Michael Vick, pleaded guilty Monday to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. Vick and two other co-defendants pleaded not guilty last week to the same charges.

As part of a plea agreement, Tony Taylor pledged to fully cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Vick and two other men accused of running an interstate dogfighting enterprise known as "Bad Newz Kennels" on Vick's property in rural Surry County.

"The 'Bad Newz Kennels' operation and gambling monies were almost exclusively funded by Vick," a summary of facts supporting the plea agreement and signed by Taylor states.

The plea deal requires Taylor to testify against Vick and his two remaining co-defendants if called upon to do so. Taylor cannot get a stiffer sentence or face any new charges based on any new information he provides, according to terms of the agreement.

Additional charges are possible, however, against Vick and the other two. Federal prosecutors have said a superseding indictment will be issued in August.

Vick's lead attorney, Billy Martin, did not immediately return a phone message.

Taylor, 34, of Hampton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities, and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

Vick pleaded not guilty to the same charges last week and said in a written statement that he looked forward to "clearing my good name." He also pleaded with the public to resist a rush to judgment.

The gruesome details outlined in the July 17 indictment have fueled public protests against Vick and prompted the suspension of some of his lucrative endorsement deals. Also, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has barred Vick from the Falcons' training camp.

The summary of facts signed by Taylor supports the indictment's claims that the dogfighting ring executed underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other brutal means. Taylor admitted shooting one dog and electrocuting another when they did not perform well in test fights in the summer of 2002.

Vick, 27, attended several dogfights in Virginia and other states with his partners, according to the statement. Prosecutors claim the fights offered purses as high as $26,000.

Taylor, who will be sentenced Dec. 14, said he was not promised any specific sentence in return for his cooperation with the government.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000, although federal sentencing guidelines likely will call for less. The range will be determined by the court's probation office, but the judge can depart from that range if he finds aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

Taylor and his attorney, Stephen A. Hudgins of Newport News, declined to answer reporters' questions as they left the federal courthouse. Prosecutors also would not comment.

During the hearing, Taylor spoke only in response to routine yes-or-no questions from U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. He answered "Yes" when the judge asked if he had agreed to cooperate with the government.

Taylor acknowledged in the summary of facts that he found the property that Vick purchased in 2001 for $30,000 for development into a dogfighting compound. Taylor says he maintained and trained the dogs for about three years, using his share of winnings _ which were split among the partners _ for living expenses.

He left the operation after a falling out with co-defendant Quanis L. Phillips and others in September 2004, according to the statement of facts.

Vick and Purnell A. Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, and Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, are scheduled for trial Nov. 26. They remain free without bond.

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intheknow
16
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intheknow 07/31/07 - 03:18 am
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To save my behind, I would

To save my behind, I would say Bill Gates was in on the crime. Only in America will we convict a person in the press based on what some low life says. Let the system run it's course. If Vick is convicted, then he should receive whatever penalty the law allow. This joker claimed that he was not promised any particular sentence. Right, I have a bridge that goes over the James Brown Arena for sell.

necodaddy
1
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necodaddy 07/31/07 - 04:54 am
0
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That's America for you. the

That's America for you. the media can convince the public of anything it decides to because of the inability to think for ourselves. I myself am not a Vick supporter but a supporter of mankind. All of those who are rushed to judge a man based on charges or what someone says he did and not a decisive judgement are fools that have no business to call yourselves Americans because you don't know the meaning. Guilty until proven innocent was not just a song that Jay-Z made several years ago, it's supposed to be the foundation of our legal system. Let the case play out in court and if Vick was a true participant, he'll pay the price. If not, he's a falsely accused young man that kept ties with the wrong people. But we'll soon see.

NANF
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NANF 07/31/07 - 06:28 am
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intheknow&necodaddy: Just

intheknow&necodaddy: Just what part of the Vick mess don't you understand.? Pictures are proof. Vicks actions on and off camera are plenty to prove he is more than capable of all he is accused of. If the NFL didn't think he was guilty, do you think they would bar him from training camp? NOT!! He's money in the NFL pocket. What about all the sponcers, like Nike, etc? Would they drop him and loose the sales? I think not. You just can't see the forest for the trees. Get over Vick, he's old news. Now he's worth " nothin' to nobody". Not even himself.

TEDDY1
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TEDDY1 07/31/07 - 07:16 am
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sick vick

sick vick

SES_1
0
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SES_1 07/31/07 - 12:58 pm
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Blacks think blacks sould get

Blacks think blacks sould get by with any thing even
killing eack other

WarEagle
0
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WarEagle 07/31/07 - 01:16 pm
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0

Vick is just another big time

Vick is just another big time loser making big bucks he doesn't deserve to earn. He might have a great arm as a passer, but he doesn't have the brains or common sense to match it. I really do hope Arthur Blank sees the light and let's this "has been loser" and let's him go from his big contract.

SHOCKER1
0
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SHOCKER1 07/31/07 - 01:49 pm
0
0

Oh PUHLEASE! I will eat my

Oh PUHLEASE! I will eat my words later if I must, but it is OBVIOUS that Vick is guilty. He's a thug who thinks that he is untouchable! I don't need the media to help me form an opinion as the previous posters stated. When I first heard his name linked with the story I knew! I hope this is an example to ALL youngsters pursuing their dreams of a pro career. BE a good example for others to follow. You are in the spotlight whether you want to be or not!

intheknow
16
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intheknow 07/31/07 - 01:55 pm
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lost, your user name says it

lost, your user name says it all. totaly lost.

belapris55
0
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belapris55 07/31/07 - 04:23 pm
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do the crime in america man

do the crime in america man you do the time extra if you are afro-men ,vick got to high for his own black [filtered word]- the new generation think that america is about money,,,,,,however it is about the distincting of all men and women of color,new generation do not understand their history ,black or white...........hah, vick is getting ready to make his path in the new generation history book,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,see ya , in the books vick betcha earn some history now new wavw super star i love you bro but you just ;;;;;;; us an your new generation thanks vick an home boyzs,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Daddyrabbit
0
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Daddyrabbit 07/31/07 - 06:42 pm
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Sure Vick will generate

Sure Vick will generate history, but remember, IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING! Everything everybody does is history! The boy has some talent, but, he's overrated as a quarterback AND as a human being! When he flipped off all the fans who paid good money to see him give a mediocre performance he later apologized (not of his own accord) and his excuse was that that wasn't him! Of course it was him! That's the way he is. If he weren't in such a high profile situation, he'd be down on the corner or at the convenience parking lot sprouting obscenitites every other word in front of everyone, including impressionable children. If belapris55 won't admit or see it, maybe they're part of the same culture. He'll make history, but only be revered by the ones who can't get past the celebrity status.

minnesota
0
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minnesota 07/31/07 - 07:48 pm
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i understand the charges he

i understand the charges he is facing but let him be convicted first before you take everything away.people in the united states can beat their wifes and there children and a small sentence or none is given,you mess with a dog you be put away for life.a.nd im not saying things like this should go unpunished let him have his day in court.people make mistakes in life and everybody has a right to a second chance.

j.allen17
0
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j.allen17 07/31/07 - 08:55 pm
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Michael Vick is just like his

Michael Vick is just like his little brother a THUG. Notice he cleaned up well for court, lost his long curls and tried to look responsible. Now he has the NAACP saying wait to judge. If he was white they would not be opening their mouth. Vick is a THUG and that is all he will ever be. Mr. Blank will do the right thing in cuts and BOOT him back to Virginia with his trashy brother. Remeber Miami and the water bottle. He is just misunderstood to hear him tell it.

bone
23
Points
bone 07/31/07 - 08:56 pm
0
0

vick deserves a chance to

vick deserves a chance to defend himself in court against the allegations. i hope he is found innocent.

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