RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Michael Vick must now wait to find out the full impact of his legal troubles, with his NFL career already in tatters.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is expected to formally enter his guilty plea to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge today.
Then, it's up to U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson to decide whether to accept it.
Capping one of the most rapid and startling falls from stardom in U.S. sports history, Vick will make official the agreement his attorneys worked out with prosecutors.
Vick entered a written plea filed in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday. He admitted helping kill six to eight pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on the fights. He says he did NOT personally place any bets or share in any winnings.
If today's proceedings follow the pattern of his three co-defendants, Vick's plea hearing will be brief, with the judge setting a sentencing hearing for late fall after a background report is completed.
The plea agreement calls for a sentencing range of 12 to 18 months. But Hudson, who is known for handing down tough sentences, is NOT bound by any recommendation or federal sentencing guidelines and could sentence Vick to as much as five years in prison.
The NFL suspended him indefinitely and without pay Friday after his plea agreement was filed. Merely associating with gamblers can trigger a lifetime ban under the league's personal conduct policy.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)