Richardson pleads guilty, gets probation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson pleaded guilty to one count of attempted robbery on Monday.

Richardson, 19, was charged Nov. 12 with two of his former teammates and a friend after three men reported to police that two men tried to rob them while they were sitting in their car at a Knoxville convenience store.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz placed Richardson on three years of unsupervised probation as part of a plea agreement he made with prosecutors.

Richardson, who was initially charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery, also received diversion. If he avoids further legal trouble the charges may be expunged from his record.

"We were very pleased to work it out with the state to get this done for him because it gives him a second chance," said Richardson's attorney, Bruce Poston. "As I told the court, if stupid were a crime in Tennessee, we'd be doing life."

The two sides entered the plea agreement a week before Richardson's scheduled court hearing so Richardson could enroll immediately at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., where he will begin classes Tuesday. He must be a full-time student or employed full-time while on probation.

"It's now in his hands," Poston said.

The victims in the attempted robbery identified Richardson and former Tennessee defensive back Mike Edwards as the two men who approached their car. The victims said one of the two brandished a pellet gun.

Tennessee defensive back Janzen Jackson and a friend, Marie Montmarquet, who were with Richardson and Edwards at the time, were also charged with attempted armed robbery. Charges against them were later dropped, and Jackson was reinstated with the Volunteers.

Attempted armed robbery charges were still pending against Edwards, who is scheduled to make a court appearance on Jan. 20.