Lawyer: Pierce to testify for grand jury if asked Print
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Thursday, 04 December 2008 07:57
NFL Headline News

 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Antonio Pierce didn't know New York Giants teammate Plaxico Burress was carrying a gun last weekend until it accidentally discharged, injuring the receiver in the right thigh, Pierce's attorney said Thursday.
``He had no idea Plaxico had a weapon,'' attorney Michael Bachner said Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Bachner said Pierce would cooperate with authorities and testify before a Manhattan grand jury about the incident if asked to testify, which has yet to happen.
``Antonio has always taken a position that he will be cooperative in the investigation with law enforcement and should Antonio be subpoenaed to the grand jury, and we have no idea that is going to happen, but if he is he is going to abide by his obligations as a citizen,'' Bachner said.
goes before the grand jury is up to the District Attorney's office, Bachner said.
Although Pierce did take Burress to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center as instructed by a Giants trainer, he did not try to cover it up by registering Burress under a false name, Bachner said.
``Other than bringing him to the hospital, he had no involvement in the administration process,'' Bachner said.
Bachner said he could not comment on a report that Pierce took Burress' gun to his home and later gave it back to Burress' wife, Tiffany.
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said Thursday the Giants alerted NFL security about the early Saturday morning shooting at a Manhattan nightclub, saying the team left it to the league to alert police. The NFL said its security department then did contact police.
On Wednesday night, Hanlon acknowledged Pierce called team trainer Ronnie Barnes after the shooting and that Barnes told Pierce to take the injured player to New York Presbyterian.
Barnes wanted Burress near the Hospital for Special Surgery, which is located next door, in case the injury to his right thigh required any orthopedic work by team physicians.
The team said Mark Drakos, a doctor from the Hospital for Special Surgery who has treated Giants players in the past, examined Burress after he was paged by New York Presbyterian. The team said it was a coincidence that Drakos was on call.
When Barnes arrived at the hospital, he asked to see Burress, by name, and was taken to the room where he was being treated. Barnes later learned Burress had been issued a hospital ID bracelet with an alias, and Hanlon said neither Barnes nor the Giants had any involvement with Burress being admitted under a false name.
While Barnes waited outside the room, an attending physician approached Barnes and said Burress had suffered no vascular injuries. She then returned to the treatment room. The team said Barnes did not know the doctor and was not in the room while she was treating Burress.
Dr. Josyann Abisaab has been suspended for not reporting Burress' gunshot injury, as required by law.
Abisaab, who's affiliated with the hospital and specializes in internal and emergency medicine, could not be reached for comment.
Police still want to interview the people at the hospital who treated Burress and did not report the shooting, as required by law.
Burress has been charged with illegal weapons possession, a felony that requires a mandatory minimum 3 1/2 years and a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities are trying to determine whether Pierce tried to cover up the shooting. Police say Pierce returned to New Jersey with Burress' gun in the glove compartment of his black Cadillac Escalade. Investigators have impounded the SUV to search it for any blood or gun residue.
Earlier Wednesday, Coughlin said there's no need to consider potential punishment of Pierce right now.
``There is no doubt we'll do the right thing,'' Coughlin added, ``and that's no threat to the players, they know that.''
Pierce is expected to play Sunday against Philadelphia, with the Giants (11-1) on the verge of clinching the NFC East and gaining a first-round playoff bye.
Even if the team makes the playoffs, Burress won't be a part of it.
The team fined and suspended Burress for four games, the rest of the regular season, Tuesday. The Giants also placed him on the reserve non-football injury list, which means he won't be back for the playoffs.
The NFL Players Association, however, said in a statement that it was reviewing the Giants' actions and planned to file a grievance, saying Burress' collective bargaining rights were violated.
``I had a conversation with Plaxico. He was very humble. He was remorseful,'' Coughlin said. ``Obviously that doesn't change anything. But you have to understand that he is part of our team and our concern is with he and his family's well being, and the ability of him to get through this circumstance and be healthy again.''
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Associated Press Writer Colleen Long in New York contributed to this report.
 

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