Gilbert Arenas Sentenced to 30 Days in Halfway House
"I am very sorry that this all happened," Arenas said in soft, even tones. "Every day, I wake up and I wish it didn't happen."
Morin said Arenas was remorseful for his role in a December locker room confrontation and "basically a good person" before he sentenced Arenas to 30 days in a halfway house and two years supervised probation. Arenas, who pleaded guilty to a single felony count of possessing a gun without a license, will also be required to serve 400 hours of community service, donate $5,000 to a victims of violent crimes fund and register as a gun offender in Washington.
Arenas and his lawyer, Kenneth Wainstein, left the courtroom without speaking to reporters, but later issued a statement.
"We are very gratified with the outcome of today's sentencing proceeding," Wainstein wrote. "Judge Morin's decision was fair and measured; it reflected a deep understanding of the relevant facts and equities; and it carefully took into account both the facts relating to Mr. Arenas' offense and the evidence of Mr. Arenas' good character. The result was a sentence that serves justice very well."
Arenas could have received up to six months in prison under a deal worked out with prosecutors in January. As part of his sentencing, he also received an 18-month suspended jail sentence.
Courthouse spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said Arenas must report to a halfway house by Monday, although he may not immediately be able start serving his time there due to overcrowding. Arenas will be able to spend his days performing community service or working -- which can conceivably mean he'd be able to work out in preparation to his return to the NBA -- before returning each night.
"The citizens of the District of Columbia and this United States Attorney's Office have made it clear that illegal possession of handguns in our city is not acceptable," U.S. Attorney Machen said in a statement. "Put simply, carrying weapons unlawfully in the District of Columbia will not be tolerated and will have consequences. Mr. Arenas is now a convicted felon, which should serve as a reminder that those who illegally possess firearms in the city, no matter who they are, will be held accountable."
The ruling effectively puts the end to the legal drama that saw Arenas go from affable superstar to a pariah. He was suspended by NBA commissioner David Stern for the season and anything with his likeness was removed from nearby Verizon Center, the site of the skirmish with Javaris Crittenton in December.
Stemming from an argument over a card game debt that began on the team plane two days earlier, Arenas placed four unloaded handguns in front of Crittenton's locker a note that said, "Pick 1." Crittenton also had a a gun at the time, which he said also wasn't loaded.
Like they did earlier in the week with lengthy filings, Assistant US. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh and Wainstein gave differing views as to what kind of sanctions Arenas should receive.
Kavanaugh alleged Arenas hadn't shown any remorse and pointed to when Arenas made two gun gestures before a Jan. 5 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Kavanaugh said a three-month jail sentence would be an appropriate punishment.
"He goes out onto the court and makes a joke of it --- essentially making a mockery of this judicial system," Kavanaugh said.
Arenas, in his short statement before he was sentenced, said that was just a window into his personality.
"That's just who I am," he said. "I like to make people laugh, to make people smile. . . . I'm looking at a picture where 14 or 15 guys are laughing together for the last time."
Wainstein spent nearly an hour going point by point down the list of reasons why prosecutors sought jail time. He said prosecutors had "tunnel vision" in their investigation of Arenas .
Prosecutors "embarked on a PR campaign against the defendant and his public image with what appeared to be an attempt to get an additional pound of flesh," Wainstein said.
Wainstein also argued that Arenas shouldn't be subject to any jail time since Crittenton, who cooperated with the prosecution, was able to plead out to a misdemeanor and received one year of unsupervised probation in January.
Wainstein said Arenas and Crittenton immediately reconciled and another lawyer from his firm, Jeff Nestler, presented cell phone records that show 19 phone calls and 112 text messages between the two. Wainstein also said Arenas provided Crittenton with $30,000 earlier this month so his mother can have an operation.
Morin admonished Arenas for his actions. "That was a stupid an immature act intended at the very least to taunt Mr. Crittenton," Morin said.
Morin agreed with prosecutors and the defense that Arenas could serve an example on the ills of misuse of firearms, especially in the workplace.