Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for allegedly striking his fiancee unconscious inside an Atlantic City casino elevator.
Rice, 27, could face three to five years in prison if convicted of the third-degree charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.
Police were called to the Revel Casino and Hotel just before 3 a.m. Feb. 15, about the altercation. Both Rice and his 26-year-old fiancee, Janay Palmer, refused medical treatment at the scene and were charged with simple assault.
But after a video obtained by the website TMZ Sports showed an unconscious Palmer being moved out of an elevator by Rice, the case was turned over to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
The office chose not to prosecute Palmer. On Thursday, acting First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton presented the case to grand jurors, who voted to indict Rice.
Rice’s attorney, Michael Diamondstein, said he has not yet seen any tapes, other than the one publicly released through TMZ. He expects that the state will turn over the surveillance footage as part of the discovery.
“We tried on a number of occasions to get the information from the Revel,” Diamondstein said. “They’re refused.”
He asked that people not pass judgment on Rice until all the facts are out.
“On behalf of Ray Rice we vehemently deny that Mr. Rice committed an aggravated assault,” Diamondstein said. “Both Mr. Rice and Miss Palmer are together, they are happy and they’re in counseling.”
It’s not clear how this could affect the Super Bowl-winning running back’s career. NFL Commission Roger Goodell said during a news conference the day before the indictment that a decision of disciplinary action would depend upon how the case plays out, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.
The team responded to the indictment Thursday with a short statement: “This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident.”
The couple still live together in Reisterstown, Md., with their young daughter.
Rice first garnered attention in the state as a standout at Rutgers. The Ravens drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft. The three-time Pro Bowler has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season four times, with a career high of 1,364 yards in 2011. He struggled last year, a year after helping lead the team to a Super Bowl win.
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