The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office filed formal charges of misdemeanor battery Thursday against Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib, who is accused of striking a cab driver two months ago.
Talib, 23, was arrested Aug. 19 after the Florida Highway Patrol said he punched cab driver David Duggan in the neck and ear with a closed fist while riding from a St. Petersburg club to a Tampa hotel.
"We believe (the cab driver) was hit," assistant state attorney Richard Ripplinger said. "There's been no explanation that the cab driver did anything that caused him to get hit while driving on the interstate."
Ripplinger said Talib was not charged with resisting arrest without violence because alcohol could have played a role in his not exiting the cab immediately. Talib wasn't available Thursday for comment. His attorney, Ron Hanes, said he expects Talib to enter a plea of not guilty at his arraignment but added that he will see what case the state brings before exploring all options.
"We are pleased that they dismissed the charge involving resisting arrest, since we were confident the charge really had no merit," Hanes said. "We will move forward in defending the battery charge. Obviously there are a lot of options that are available and the charge is only a misdemeanor, so we will work with the state and move forward and seeing the best resolution we can get on behalf of the client."
Bucs spokesman Jeff Kamis said the team was aware charges would be filed, but Talib is expected to be on the flight this morning to London to play the Patriots on Sunday. Kamis said the Bucs "will continue to monitor the situation, and let the legal process run its course."
Ripplinger said arraignment could occur within 3-4 weeks. If convicted, Talib faces up to one year in county jail.
"He hit a cab driver while he was driving on the interstate — that's a very serious situation," Ripplinger said. "Luckily there was no collisions as a result."
Since the arrest, the State Attorney's Office has interviewed witnesses, including Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox and linebacker Angelo Crowell, who were in the cab.
Ripplinger said there were no indications of a verbal exchange between Talib and Duggan, 47, of St. Petersburg, before the incident. "Alcohol was a sufficient explanation for what happened, more than anything," he said.
Talib has been one of the Bucs' best defensive players this season, with three interceptions in six games.