Trials & Litigation

Lawyer calls ex-NFL client's backside pat a gesture of respect, seeks reduction of 30-day jail term

Video of Chad Johnson's court appearance. The slap is at 0:55.

Updated: Former NFL player Chad Johnson should not have to do time for his playful tap on his lawyer’s backside during a court hearing in Florida on Monday, the attorney says in a motion seeking a reduction of the jail term that resulted.

“Mr. Johnson has been a professional football player in the National Football League for 11 years and patting another individual on the backside is viewed as a sign of respect and gratitude,” wrote Adam Swickle in his motion asking Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh to reconsider. “It is clear that the court misinterpreted Mr. Johnson’s interaction with his attorney.”

Swickle also argued that his client should not be held responsible for the laughter of “third parties” that greeted his gesture, the Associated Press reports.

Prior to the ill-timed gesture, it appeared that McHugh had been about to accept a plea deal that would not have required Johnson to serve any time after he violated his probation in a domestic-violence case. However, after the courtroom erupted in laughter, she told him the case “isn’t a joke,” questioned his sincerity and had court officers lead him away in handcuffs for a 30-day jail term.

Swickle’s argument apparently was persuasive: On June 17, the judge ordered Johnson released after seven days, as a subsequent post details.

See also: “After ex-NFL star pats his lawyer’s backside, judge nixes his no-jail plea deal”

Updated on June 17 to include news of Johnson’s early release.

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