Wizards star Gilbert Arenas was sentenced Friday to 30 days in a halfway house and two years supervised probation for bringing guns into the team's locker room.
"I am very sorry that this all happened. Every day I wake up wishing it didn't," Arenas said during sentencing, his voice breaking. "What we did that day was stupid, irresponsible." In January, Arenas pleaded guilty to bringing four unloaded guns into the Washington Wizard's locker room on Dec. 21 during a dispute with a teammate, Javaris Crittenton. "You brought an unloaded gun in to taunt your teammate," Judge Robert E. Morin told Arenas during the sentencing. "[But] at core, you're a decent person." The prosecution had recommended three months behind bars, saying that Arenas acted in a "reckless and confrontational manner" that "terrified" witnesses when he brought the guns into the team's locker room at the Verizon Center.
But Arenas' lawyer argued that the prosecution's main witness, Crittenton, lied about being in fear of Arenas in order to bargain a reduced sentence for his own firearms violation. The defense presented cell phone records and text message records, which he said showed that Arenas and Crittenton had made 19 phone calls and sent 112 text messages to each other over the past three months. He also presented bank records that allegedly showed Arenas transferring $30,000 to Crittenton's bank account to help pay for Crittenton's mother's back operation on Mar. 16. This evidence was "at odds with the government's contention that Crittenton was in fear of my client," said Arenas' attorney Kenneth Wainstein. Wainstein called the gun incident a "misguided prank" and asked for a sentence of probation with court-ordered community service.
In addition to his 2-year probation, Arenas was also ordered to serve 400 hours of community service and pay $5,000 to a fund for the victims of violent crimes.
In addition to his sentence, Arenas has been suspended for the season without pay since January. He has also lost tens of millions of dollars in canceled endorsements, according to his lawyers. Arenas rose to become the Wizard's most prominent players in recent years. On July 13, 2008, he signed a $111 million six-year contract. His sentence could determine whether the team tries to void his contract. The locker room incident wasn't Arena's first time in trouble because of a gun. In 2003, he was arrested in California after a traffic stop. Police said they found a .40-caliber handgun hidden beneath a bag in Arenas' vehicle. He was a free agent at the time and had a gun license in Arizona, where he went to college, but not California. He later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor gun charges.
The Wizards were in hot pursuit of Arenas at the time and dismissed concerns about that gun arrest.