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Negotiated settlement deadline is Friday

ATLANTA -- Dany Heatley will resolve his vehicular homicide
case before he is scheduled to stand trial, a lawyer for the
Atlanta Thrashers forward said Wednesday.

Lawyer Ed Garland would not say if Heatley plans to enter a
guilty plea, but that appears to be his only option besides going
to trial.

"I expect that we will reach a resolution of this case next
Friday" on Feb. 4, Garland said. "That's as far as I'm going to
go. This case is working itself to a resolution."

Heatley's trial was not expected to get started until the week
of Feb. 7.

Another lawyer for Heatley, Don Samuel, told The Associated
Press earlier this week that Heatley was moving closer to a plea
agreement, though questions remained over his sentence and the
impact a conviction would have on the Canadian citizen's
immigration status. Garland told AP on Wednesday that negotiations
with prosecutors are ongoing.

Prosecution spokesman Erik Friedly declined to comment. "We're
not saying anything," he said Wednesday.

Friedly has said that if Heatley planned to enter a negotiated
settlement, this Friday would be the deadline. A scheduled hearing
that day has since been called off.

Heatley was indicted last July on vehicular homicide and five
other charges in connection with a car crash in Atlanta's upscale
Buckhead neighborhood that killed Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder,
25, on Sept. 29, 2003.

Police estimated that Heatley was driving his black Ferrari
convertible between 60 mph and 90 mph on a curved road in a
residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence.
Snyder died after several days in a coma, and Heatley broke his jaw
and tore two ligaments in his knee.

Heatley, the MVP of the 2003 NHL All-Star game, has been playing
in Switzerland during the NHL lockout.

Samuel said earlier this week that defense lawyers were
consulting with immigration experts to determine how a guilty plea
would affect Heatley's ability to play in the United States. He
also said that defense lawyers and prosecutors each had made an
offer on a negotiated sentence, though he would not provide
specifics.