Photo: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
NEW YORK -- Plaxico Burress entered the spacious courtroom at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday. Eight minutes later, he was standing in front of Judge Michael Yavinsky with his arms crossed in front of him. Within two minutes, Burress was on his way out the door, his legal situation as cloudy as it was when he walked into the courthouse.
Burress' first court appearance since December, when he was charged with two counts of felony gun possession, was a brief one. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, and John Wolfstaetter, an assistant district attorney, asked Judge Yavinsky to adjourn the case until June 15 -- a request that was granted, though there could be a court appearance before then if the two sides agree on a plea bargain. Burress' bail was continued.
Recent reports have indicated a deal was close. Brafman disputed those claims but indicated he will continue to talk to the DA's office.
"As we speak, there is no agreement of any kind," Brafman said. "We are continuing to discuss this case. We're trying our best to see if there's a way to resolve the case. Right now, we have not reached an agreement."
An ESPN report stated Brafman has been close to striking a deal several times over the past couple of weeks but Burress has vetoed those deals because they all included jail time. Brafman declined comment via e-mail when asked about the report, saying there's "a lot of inaccurate stuff floating around" and that he didn't want to comment.
Burress didn't address reporters on his way in and out of the courthouse Tuesday. Wearing a gray checkered suit with a light blue shirt and dark blue tie, Burress sat in the rear of the courtroom with his wife, Tiffany. After appearing in front of Judge Yavinsky, Burress shook hands with a well-wisher and walked out of the court room.
"I'm good," he told a reporter who asked how he was doing.
Burress then hopped into a black Cadillac Escalade and drove off while Brafman gave his brief statement and answered only a few questions.
After Burress was booked in December, Brafman called his client a "superstar" with "a brilliant athletic career" and expressed hope Burress could continue to play in the NFL. Yesterday, he steered clear of any comments about Burress the football player.
"I think that's a decision for him, his management team and the New York Giants, so I'm not going to comment on that," said Brafman. "I assume a lot will depend on how, when and if this case is resolved."
Burress' next court date is one day before the Giants open their three-day veteran minicamp, which is the first mandatory activity for players on the roster. Burress could very well be behind bars by that time, even with a plea deal. Prosecutors would likely not want to allow him to walk away without any jail time, especially since New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken such a firm stance in asking for prosecution "to the fullest extent of the law."
If convicted of a Class C felony, Burress faces 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison. A conviction of a lower charge could reduce his sentence to one year or less.
Burress, 31, also faces a possible suspension from the NFL, which could further delay his return to the field. He has four years remaining on a $35 million contract he signed before last year's regular-season opener.