Criminal Justice

Lawyer resigns after 'heaven help us' text on client Johnny Manziel is mistakenly sent to reporter

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A lawyer for former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has resigned from his defense in a domestic violence case after mistakenly sending a text to the Associated Press that raised doubts about a potential plea deal.

A spokeswoman for Manziel confirmed Hinton’s resignation and said the lawyer “has always only operated on the periphery of this case,” the Associated Press, the Dallas Morning News and ESPN report.

The lawyer, Bob Hinton, expressed concern about his client’s ability to stay clean in the event a plea bargain requires urine tests, the Associated Press reported in its initial story. “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,” Hinton said.

Hinton told the AP he intended to send the text to his co-counsel. He said the contents were protected by attorney-client privilege and threatened to sue if some details were released.

Manziel is charged with misdemeanor assault based on allegations he hit and threatened a former girlfriend in January. The spokeswoman said Manziel’s remaining lawyer, Jim Darnell, has said from the beginning that Manziel would not plead guilty, and that position has not changed.

Hinton’s text said he had received a receipt as a “heads up” that “purports to reflect” that Manziel made a $1,000 purchase at a drug paraphernalia store. Hinton said he doesn’t know if the receipt is legitimate and that it does not have Manziel’s name on it. The purchase was made one day after Manziel’s car was involved in a June 20 car crash.

AP received the text after seeking comment on the crash.

Hinton told the Dallas Morning News he had served as local counsel in the case, and the errant text “leaves me with no choice but to withdraw.”

“It’s a disappointment, but I don’t want to be an interference,” Hinton said.

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