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MARV ALBERT, PART I: TRIAL ENDS IN PLEA AGREEMENT
Published September 26, 1997
Marv Albert "put an end to his lurid sexual assault trial but lost his job when he pleaded guilty yesterday to assault and battery for biting a 42-year-old Vienna, [VA], women, accepting a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of forcible sodomy," according to Brooke Masters of the WASHINGTON POST. Albert faces up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine when he is sentenced October 24 (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26). ALBERT STATEMENT: Albert gave a statement after the trial: "I'd first like to say thanks so much for the wonderful work on the part of Roy Black and Peter Greenspun and their entire staff. From my point of view, I just felt I had to end this ordeal for myself, my wonderful family, my fiance Heather, my friends and supporters. I'd like to thank NBC Sports and MSG Network people for standing behind me through all of this. I'd love to be able to answer questions right now, but it's been a trying day, and I want to spend the rest of the day with my family" (THE DAILY). NETWORK STATEMENTS: NBC's statement on Albert: "This past May, when charges against Marv Albert become public, Mr. Albert asserted his innocence and assured NBC senior management that there was no basis whatsoever to the charges. Today, given Marv Albert's plea of guilty of assault and battery, NBC terminated its relationship with Mr. Albert" (NBC). MSG's release: "Madison Square Garden accepted Marv Albert's resignation. ... The Garden, MSG Network, the Knicks and Rangers thank him for 30 years of dedicated service. As he stated himself, he must now set out to reconstruct his personal and professional life. We wish him well in those efforts. Madison Square Garden will have no further comment at this time" (MSG). Albert, in a second statement: "I have resigned from MSG and have been let go from NBC. I fully understand the position in which the networks found themselves due to my very painful situation. In the interest of my family, my friends and my many supporters, I step aside with deep humility and seek to reconstruct my personal and professional life" (Mult.). NEW YORK COVERAGE: All three New York City O&Os led with the Albert plea during their early evening reports. WNBC's Michael Hill said that the trial "featured an assassination of his reputation" (WNBC, 9/25). WCBS' John Slattery: "The whole world has seen this man air his dirty laundry." WCBS' Pablo Guzman: "People in the business, agents in the business, have said that as far as network reporting, that's probably over for Albert except perhaps for the Fox network, that he may be going back to where his career began, in local news" (WCBS, 9/25). TV COVERAGE: "NBC Nightly News" reported on Albert 10 minutes into the program, following its first commercial break. The report consisted of the details of the plea and reported Albert's firing from NBC Sports (NBC, 9/25). "CBS Evening News" with Dan Rather, which had not reported on Albert all week, covered the plea 11 minutes into its program, leading with the story following the first commercial break. Rather: "A heavily publicized criminal court trial in Virginia ended today. Some journalists, including some closely associated with this broadcast, preferred not to cover any part of this case" (CBS, 9/25). ABC's "World News Tonight" reported on Albert eight minutes into its telecast. ABC's Jeff Greenfield examined cable TV's coverage of the trial. Greenfield: "Once a story has achieved enough media liftoff, it becomes an almost constant presence on these new news networks" (ABC, 9/25). ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS: "Extra" and CNN's "Showbiz Today" led with the Albert story. "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" did not cover the story. CNN's "Larry King Live" featured the Albert plea. Among the guests were attorney Roy Black, agent Leigh Steinberg and N.Y. Times sports columnist Ira Berkow (THE DAILY). SPORTS SHOWS: ESPN's 6:30pm ET "SportsCenter" led with Albert and reported on him again midway through the hour- long broadcast. ESPN's Bob Ley reported that the NBA "had no comment on either Albert's guilty plea or his firing by NBC." The 11:00pm ET "SportsCenter" reported on Albert six minutes in, leading with the Shawn Kemp trade and the Astros clinching the NL Central ("SportsCenter," 9/25). CNN/SI reported on the Albert plea following stories on the Kemp trade and Greg Ostertag re-signing with the Jazz. CNN/SI's Bob Lorenz called the plea "a sudden and surprising end" to the trial. CNN/SI's Nick Charles: "Albert's personal persona and professional career both took major hits on the richter scale." SI legal analyst Lester Munson: "If he had been sentenced today, I think he probably would have done some time in jail. ... I think he may still face, however, some short time in jail" ("CNN/SI," CNN, 9/25).