Bucs CB Talib, and his mother, indicted for aggravated assault with deadly weapon
Aqib Talib’s future in the NFL just became the least of his problems.
The Bucs cornerback on Friday was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to attorney Frank Perez.
“He’s been indicted,’’ Perez said in a text message to the Times Friday. "Yes, I'm disappointed, but I believe once all the facts are out, it will be resolved in Aqib's favor.''
It took the grand jury only two days to indict Talib after being presented with evidence by prosecutors Wednesday. The second degree felony carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.
Jay K. Reisenger, Talib's Pittsburgh-based attorney who has represented Alex Rodriguez, among others, issued a statement Friday saying he's confident the matter will be resolved in Talib's favor and he will return to football.
"It is important to note that the indictment is merely a formal accusation, and that Mr. Talib has not been convicted of any crime with respect to this matter,'' Reisenger said in the statement. "The grand jury was not privy to a number of important facts. We are very confident that once we have the opportunity to present all of the facts, this matter will be resolved in Mr. Talib’s favor. Aqib looks forward to putting this matter behind him and returning to the game of football. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.''
Talib’s latest troubles stem from his role in a March 21 shooting in Garland, Texas. Police say Talib attempted to pistol whip and later fired gunshots at his sister’s boyfriend, Shannon Billings. Nobody was injured. Talib’s mother, Okolo, also was indicted by the grand jury on similar charges, according to Perez.
The indictment puts Talib's NFL future in jeopardy. Talib was suspended one game last season for assaulting a St. Petersburg cab driver in 2009. Although the league is unable to place sanctions on players during the lockout, NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell has said the personal conduct policy still applies and violators could face sanctions once the labor issue is resolved.
Police say about 7:30 p.m. on that Monday in March, Talib, 25, brandished a 9mm handgun and attempted to pistol-whip Shannon Billings, the live-in boyfriend of his sister, Saran Talib, 43.
Earlier in the day, Billings, 40, had scratched Saran's head with his hand and fingernails during a domestic disturbance, according to an arrest warrant. Talib's gun slipped out of his hand in a struggle and jammed when it struck a fence, police say. That's when Billings picked it up and began running down the 900 block of Green Pond Drive, they say.
Talib's mother, Okolo Talib, 58, arrived on the scene, stepped out of her vehicle, aimed her handgun at Billings and fired several shots, witnesses told police. Talib then grabbed the handgun from his mother and fired a couple of rounds at Billings, according to an arrest warrant. None of the shots struck Billings.
Talib, who has been free since posting $25,000 bail, has "vigorously denied" all charges through a statement from his attorneys. And in a conversation with a former college coach, Talib also implicated his mother as the only person who fired the gun.
Meanwhile, Okolo received an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was released after posting a total of $30,000 bail.
Tailb's problems began as soon as he arrived in Tampa Bay as a first-round pick from Kansas State. In July 2008, he had a physical altercation with teammate Cory Boyd at the NFL's Rookie Symposium. In May 2009, Talib attempted to strike left tackle Donald Penn with his helmet and during a minicamp workout and wound up injuring another player, Torrie Cox, who suffered a facial laceration.
A few months later, after Talib and several teammates celebrated the end of training camp, he was arrested for assaulting a cab driver.
The Bucs are prevented from making any transactions during the NFL lockout and declined comment Friday. But last month, general manager Mark Dominik said, "I think right now, as that matter is back under sealed oath with the league office rules and everything, we will just handle the matter when it's deemed necessary.''