L.T.: "Sunday is a different world. It's like a fantasy world which I'd rather
live in. Then I go back to the rest of the world and that's when the trouble
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
Taylor pleads no contest to cocaine charges (View the rest of LT's Rap Sheet)
DAVE BRYAN, Associated Press Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Lawrence Taylor chose not to fight cocaine charges Tuesday. The NFL great entered a no-contest plea to buying
crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
His lawyer had earlier asked the judge to dismiss the charges, contending the Hall of Fame linebacker was entrapped by police. Angelo Ferlita
said police used an informant to set up Taylor, preying on the retired football star because of his history of drug abuse. Asked why he changed his plea from innocent,
the 40-year-old Taylor said as he left the courthouse: "I'm not answering nothing."
Circuit Judge Lauren Laughlin withheld a finding of guilt, and said she was prepared to sentence him to 18 months' probation. She set sentencing for Feb. 1 and ordered Taylor to pay about $1,250 court costs and the cost of the police investigation.
Ferlita said it wasn't easy to get Taylor to switch his plea, calling the former player a
competitor. "It's kind of tough to swallow that pill but now
he's in a situation where he can move on with his life," Ferlita said, noting Taylor's appearance in the film "On Any Given Sunday" with Al Pacino, due
for release Christmas Day.
The plea came during a pretrial hearing. Police informant Clemente Brown took the stand and said Taylor approached him to buy drugs.
Ferlita did not dispute that. However, he tried to portray Brown as a cocaine addict who hoped to score more drugs from Taylor. And when he
didn't he went to police, offering to set up the ex-football player.
Taylor, of Saddle River, N.J., was charged in
October 1998 in St. Pete Beach.
"We feel that the conduct of the police was so egregious that the court needs to dismiss this case," Ferlita said earlier. "To carry cocaine into the hotel
room of a known cocaine addict" was improper. Taylor was arrested on similar charges two years ago in South Carolina. He enrolled in a program that enabled him to clear the charges from his record by completing 60 hours of community
service and submitting to drug counseling and random drug testing.
Taylor, who helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls during a 13-year career, also underwent rehabilitation for a cocaine problem in
1985. He was suspended by the NFL two years later for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The informant who helped police make the
arrest said in a deposition that Taylor approached him when he was in town for a charity golf tournament. Brown said the relationship started when
Taylor introduced himself and asked if Browncould help find crack.
Brown informed police, who later listened in as he called Taylor at his hotel on Oct. 18, 1998 to set up the deal.
Taylor was nervous because police had stopped him earlier in the day and at first he put Brown off. Several hours later, an uninvited Brown knocked at Taylor's door with an undercover police officer posing as his wife. After a discussion, Taylor held up a $50 bill and the officer provided the crack. Taylor was then arrested.
The Rest of LT's Rap Sheet
Taylor admitted to cheating on random drug tests in 1985 by slipping an
aspirin bottle containing teammate's urine into his jock strap.
On Aug. 15, 1987, Taylor failed an NFL drug test. Because it was his first
offense, he wasn't penalized but only received a warning. The following August
he was suspended for 30 days for failing a second drug test.
Needing money, Taylor wrestled Bam Bam Bigelow in Wrestlemania XI for
$500,000 in April 1995.
Also in 1995, his business, All-Pro Products, collapsed. Because of stock
fraud by two former traders, the company was worth practically nothing. It had
been valued at $10.8 million after going public in 1993. L.T. lost several hundred
In 1996, he was arrested in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for allegedly trying to buy
$100 worth of crack cocaine from an undercover cop.
In 1997, he pled guilty to filing a false federal tax return.
He was arrested three times in 1998: once for failing to pay child support and
twice on drug-related charges. In October, he checked into a rehab center after
being arrested for allegedly trying to buy crack from an undercover office in St.
Petersburg, Fla. In December, he surrendered to Teaneck (N.J.) police to face
charges of possession of narcotics and paraphernalia.
In 1998 he also filed for bankruptcy to keep creditors from seizing his
$605,000 house in Upper Saddle River, N.J.