COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett reacted with quiet
disbelief when he learned he'd likely spend the weekend in jail.
The former Ohio State star running back may have an even harder
time accepting what lies ahead.
Wearing the same type of tan, jail-issue jumpsuit he'd sported
here once before, the former Ohio State star running back closed
his eyes and softly shook his head Thursday when the judge
announced his bond on a gun charge: $5 million.
His attorney, Nick Mango, said his client would not likely be
able to post it, keeping Clarett in jail at least until the start
of his robbery trial Monday. Clarett has been ordered to appear in
court Friday afternoon in the robbery case.
Following his bizarre and violent encounter with police early
Wednesday, 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, didn't say anything and wasn't addressed by
Mango would not speculate on why four loaded guns -- including an
assault rifle -- were in the SUV Clarett was driving early
"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. In that case, witnesses said Clarett flashed a gun and
robbed them of a cell phone behind a Columbus nightclub earlier
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.
In the robbery case, Common Pleas Judge David Fais ordered
Clarett to appear in court Friday, but did not tell his attorneys
what issue would be addressed.
"My sense is that the judge was going to inquire as to whether
the defense intended to file a request for a psychological
evaluation of our client, Mr. Clarett, which we do not intend to
do," attorney Michael Hoague said.
After Clarett's arrest on Wednesday, his lawyers expressed
concern about his mental health, but Hoague said he and Mango are
confident Clarett understands what is going on and will be able to
assist in his defense. The attorneys don't plan to make any
requests that would delay the start of the trial Monday, Hoague
Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed a
vehicle driving erratically, beginning a highway chase that ended
with police spiking the SUV's tires. Officers said they could not
easily subdue Clarett because he was wearing a bulletproof vest
that thwarted their stun guns.
After several police using pepper spray finally got him into
handcuffs, the 6-foot, 245-pounder continued to struggle, kicking
at the doors of the transport vehicle. Officers also secured a
cloth mask over Clarett's mouth after they say he spat at them.
Police said more charges are possible, and federal agents said
they are eyeing whether Clarett violated federal gun laws that
prohibit having a firearm while under indictment.
"I feel bad for him. I think a lot of people do," said rookie
linebacker A.J. Hawk of the Green Bay Packers, who arrived at Ohio
State as a freshman with Clarett. "You've got to surround yourself
with decent people, and I think in his case maybe he didn't do
that, or took some bad advice or whatever. I don't know. Things
aren't going right. Maybe this will be a wake-up call."
Clarett was in a positive mood when he spent Tuesday night in
suburban Columbus with his attorneys, preparing for next week's
trial, said Jon Saia, a senior partner with the law firm
He made a series of cell phone calls into the night and early
Wednesday morning, including one to Jim Terry, coach of Mahoning
Valley Hitmen of the Eastern Indoor Football League where Clarett
has plans to play in January.
Terry said Clarett, whose girlfriend recently gave birth to his
premature daughter, sounded depressed on the phone, but that wasn't
"Maurice mumbles, so he sounds depressed all the time," Terry
said. "We just talked about the baby, we talked about the trial
and then the phone cut out."
Clarett did not call back, Terry said. Police said they
attempted to stop Clarett a short time later.
As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the
second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State
to the 2002 national championship. It was the last game he played
for the Buckeyes.
He was suspended for the following season after being charged
with falsely reporting a theft to police. After dropping out of
school, he challenged the NFL's draft eligibility rule in 2004 but
The Broncos made him a surprise third-round pick the following
year, but he was cut during the preseason.