Jay Mariotti Avoids Jail Time, Pleads No Contest

Former Around the Horn contributor Jay Mariotti managed to avoid jail for the second time Tuesday when he pleaded no contest to stalking and assault charges.

The Los Angeles Times has the details on the plea deal for the Venice resident:

“Under the plea before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney, all five counts — including three felonies — faced by Mariotti will be reduced to misdemeanors, officials said.

At a preliminary hearing in July, Mariotti was held to answer on charges that included felony stalking, corporal injury on a spouse or domestic partner, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order.

Mariotti, a former sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, appeared frequently on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.” He has not contributed to ESPN since his initial arrest in the summer of 2010. With the plea deal, Mariotti must undergo a year of counseling and 90 days of community service. He was sentenced to five years probation but is eligible to have that time reduced beginning three years from now.

Shawn Holley, the attorney representing Mariotti, said that despite the no-contest plea, her client maintained his innocence and that the decision to accept the court’s offer was not an acknowledgement of guilt but rather a “practical consideration in light of the expense and unpredictability of trial.”

“Although Mr. Mariotti would have liked to have told his side of the story at trial, the fact that he is an accomplished writer provided him another avenue, in this case a book, to tell his side in an unconventional but progressive manner.”

A year ago, Mariotti pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence as part of a plea deal with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

A great attorney can save you from jail, but it won’t repair your career. Mariotti is done in the sports world as a result of his legal woes.