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CNN Today

Ray Lewis Murder Charges Dropped; Set to Testify for Prosecution

Aired June 5, 2000 - 1:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will avoid a prison term. Lewis and a pair of friends were charged with murder after two people died in a brawl outside an Atlanta nightclub. That fight took place a few hours after Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl. Lewis went on trial two weeks ago, but today, the prosecutor dropped the murder indictment, and Lewis pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

CNN/SI's -- "Sports Illustrated" Nick Charles is covering the story and joins us now to tell us what it's all about -- Nick.

NICK CHARLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, Judge Alice Bonner formally approved the plea bargain, Ray Lewis then entered his guilty plea of obstructing justice and then walked away no longer charged with murder. Lewis was read his rights by Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker, who got the Baltimore Ravens superstar to admit he hampered the investigation into the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar hours after the Super Bowl last January. District Attorney Paul Howard said the state has no remorse in having put Lewis on trial for murder. Howard would not tell us what Lewis has told him, but is only anxious to have him take the stand on behalf of the prosecution now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He is going to testify tomorrow, he was present at the scene. We have already secured a tape recorded statement, a video statement. And I think that the statement is going to prove to be, I believe, quite damaging with respect to what he saw on the night of the incident.

ED GARLAND, RAY LEWIS' ATTORNEY: Ray Lewis described exactly what he saw and exactly what he did.

CHARLES: What did he say and what did he do?

GARLAND: I don't want to attempt to capture that. It will be best coming from the witness stand and you will see it live. It effects defendants on trial and other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES: Ray Lewis has suddenly and dramatically gone then, from facing life in prison to perhaps being the key witness now for the prosecution. He's expected to testify for the prosecution as early as tomorrow morning -- Lou.

WATERS: How specifically, Nick, did Lewis obstruct justice?

CHARLES: I'm sorry, I didn't hear that, Lou.

WATERS: How did Ray Lewis obstruct justice? what did he do?

CHARLES: Well, he asked people in the limo to keep quiet about this and not to talk to this incident about anybody. It wasn't his sworn testimony when they took -- that they took of him as a witness in Gwinnett County, which is a suburb of Atlanta. But it was him telling people in the limo, the other 11, not to tell anybody about this, because he didn't want his NFL career to end this way.

WATERS: All right, Nick Charles, in the rain covering the Ray Lewis trial, we'll have more when it becomes available.

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