Knicks point guard Raymond Felton signed his name to a $25,000 bail bond late yesterday and walked out of state court after his arraignment on two felony charges of criminal possession of a weapon.
The NYPD said Felton, 29, surrendered to police at the 20th Precinct on West 82nd Street in Manhattan at 12:50 a.m. yesterday and was initially charged with second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree criminal possession of an unregistered weapon.
However, the criminal complaint unveiled in Manhattan Criminal Court charged him only with one count of third degree criminal possession, a D-felony, as well as one additional E-felony count of criminal weapons possession.
After his arraignment, Felton, wearing a black sweatshirt emblazoned with the peace symbol, was escorted by court officers to a black SUV waiting outside the courthouse on Centre Street and driven away. Neither Felton nor his defense attorneys Jim Walden and Isabelle Kirschner commented to the horde of reporters and photographers.
A spokesman for the Knicks had no comment yesterday. NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said, “We are monitoring the situation.”
Whether to punish Felton could be the first major decision new NBA commissioner Adam Silver has to make since taking over for David Stern on Feb. 1.
Court documents stated that a complainant, said by law enforcement sources to be Felton’s estranged wife Ariane Raymondo-Felton, brought a semi-automatic FN Herstal Five-sevenN handgun to police yesterday. She wasn’t specifically named in the complaint.
Investigators also found that the handgun, which is touted as a lightweight but powerful weapon, was loaded with approximately 18 rounds of ammunition stored inside a magazine that has a 20-round capacity. The capacity of the magazine put the most serious charge at a D-felony since the handgun’s magazine fell into the category of a “higher capacity” ammunition feeding device, a provision added to state law last year.
The D-felony gun charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison but doesn’t have a minimum because it is a non-violent offense, said defense attorney and former prosecutor James DiPietro of Brooklyn who isn’t involved in the case.
A law enforcement source said that his wife had alleged that Felton had handled the gun during a domestic argument but didn’t say that he ever threatened her with it.
During Felton’s quick arraignment last night, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Diana Boyar set the bail bond which had been agreed to earlier by prosecutors and defense attorneys. The court didn’t require any guarantors for the bond but Boyar signed a six-month temporary order of protection which bars Felton from having any contact with his wife.
Felton’s attorneys also agreed to waive his speedy trial rights which requires a trial in six months. The effect of that waiver will allow prosecutors to do further investigation of the case and trial preparation, as well as to give more time for possible plea negotiations.